NYTimes on Fat Acceptance (Again)

“Throwing out the diet and embracing the fat” is not a perfect description of fat acceptance, but very, very good to see in mainstream media.  Many fat blogs are named and linked to;  four or five books are mentioned; and the obligatory “but people are healthier if they’re thinner” doesn’t get the last word — it’s immediately followed by:

What remains undisputed is that no clinical trial has found a diet that keeps weight off long-term for a majority. “If they really worked, we’d be running out of dieters,” said Glenn Gaesser, professor of exercise physiology at Arizona State University and author of “Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health.”

Both sides agree that regular exercise, at any size, improves health. “If you want to know who’s going to die, know their fitness level,” said Steven Blair, a self-described “fat and fit” professor of exercise science, epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of South Carolina. His research indicates that “obese individuals who are fit have a death rate one half that of normal-weight people who are not fit.”

The Health At Every Size study is mentioned as well.  Also props for the photo (of a scale being thrown out of a window) that is NOT a headless fatty!  Between this and the cartoon that accompanied October’s story I hope The New York Times sets a trend  ;)

7 thoughts on “NYTimes on Fat Acceptance (Again)

  1. This is a far more positive review of this article than any other I have read around the fatosphere. From the other things I have read, the lady who wrote it really doesn’t ‘get it’ about fat acceptance, fat & health, etc. However, I understand that we all interpret things a bit differently & that some of us & more grateful for small things than others. After 30 years working at this, it takes a lot to impress me &, since I have read Dr. Gaesser several times & since I know that the second half of BFL is a diet & that he has written at least two diet books since BFL, quotes from him do not reassure me as much as they might. I suppose anything is better than nothing, though.

    And, Dr. Blair, I am familiar with your work & glad that your longterm, large studies have indeed shown that fat people can be as fit as thin people, etc., but “if you want to know who’s going to die”, look at any living organism…human or otherwise….we are ALL going to die. And while I am an active person & have spent my life, in fact, fighting at least a borderline compulsive exercise disorder, I know a lot of people who cannot or could not ever meet Dr. Blair’s definition of ‘fitness’ who lived long lives & many others who were obsessed with fitness who dropped dead at early ages.

    As I said, I have spent a lot of time at this rodeo, & it will take a lot for me to put any faith in or give much praise to anything published in the New York Times. Of course, I have high expectations; I am waiting for the day when ‘obesity’ is not a convenient topic for a thousand articles, to when it is accepted & understood that body size & shape is almost entirely genetic & that there is no difference in the worth, general behavior, or necessarily the health of people of different sizes. However, since I am nearly 60, I seriously doubt, even if I live as long as my fat relatives, that I will live long enough to see this happen. Fat people make too convenient….&, in the case of at least 95% of fat people themselves…to willing & cooperative scapegoats & we live in a culture which demands scacpegoats; they must have SOMEONE to blame for everything which is wrong in the world.

    • Well, I’m not dropping the “for mainstream media” qualifier, but both Shapely Prose and the Fat Nutritionist were pretty positive about it. The New Yorker article, on the other hand… ;)

  2. I try to tune out the media as much as possible. Someone in the house was watching tv this morning & had it on one of those Cable news channels…I was trying to ignore it, so I don’t know which one. I did pick up that they were discussing health care, yadda, yadda, & one of the female ‘journalists’ did catch my attention long enough to completely infuriate me when she said that most health care money goes for things like “obesity & smoking (once again, classed together as being virtually the same thing), THINGS WHICH PEOPLE BRING ON THEMSELVES with their behavior & lifestyles.” Some people may occasionally write or say something a LITTLE less negative at times, though always, it seems, with some damn qualifier, but mostly it never changes; the beat goes on. My reaction is becoming more & more not to read papers or magazines or online news stories & to watch less & less television. These days it is a survival tool for me. I have had about enough of people claiming to be more broad-minded, assuring me that they don’t think I am necessarily a gluttonous idiot who is going to drop dead at any moment, then going on to tell me that it really WOULD be best if I could lose at least a LITTLE weight or that it was really a GOOD thing when I was exercising hard four hours daily, regardless of how much harm it did my body. I keep my own counsel & own my own body & disregard the great pronouncements of ‘experts’ & the general assholery of ‘journalists.’

    I know I sound pessimistic, but after 30 years of getting my hopes up & trying to believe that this or that mainstream person, this or that thin doctor/physiologist/law professor is really fat positive & is really fighting for us, I have concluded that I have to listen to myself & let them fight among themselves. A lot of us are going to live well into our 80’s & 90’s whether they like it or not, but apparently time is the ONLY thing which may open the eyes of the majority of people.

  3. And I apologize for confusing the New York Times with the New Yorker, though I don’t read either one. Apparently, it was the New Yorker article which drew such negative criticism from the fatosphere. I will try to read posts more carefully. However, my beliefs about what the media thinks & says about fat people for the most part stands & it does seem as if even those who write more positive things have to work in “but thinner is really better” somewhere. What has always really saddened me is that it seems as if most fat people, even those who claim to be fat activists, believe the same thing & accept, on some level, that being fat HAS to be bad for you.

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