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Thread: Obesity becoming U.S. civil rights issue for some

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Obesity becoming U.S. civil rights issue for some



    Obesity becoming U.S. civil rights issue for some

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Kate Harding has spent most of her life on one diet or another, losing weight but always gaining it back. Determined to improve her quality of life, she joined a fast-growing group of anti-dieting activists promoting overweight people's civil rights.
    Launching an anti-dieting blog called Shapely Prose, Harding and other fat-acceptance advocates online -- calling themselves the fat-o-sphere -- are also educating one another about how to improve overweight people's health.
    She and other bloggers with names like FatChicksRule and Big Liberty say society's "war on obesity" makes overweight people hate their bodies and suffer from low self-esteem.
    "Being fat doesn't make me lazy or stupid or morally suspect," said Harding, 34, of Chicago, who also has written a book, "Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere."
    "The message we're promoting is health at every size."

    Her blog entries criticize dieting obsessions and ponder coverage of weight issues in the mainstream media.
    Since launching her blog, Harding, who says she is 5 foot 2 inches tall and about 195 pounds (88 kg), says her body image has improved. But she admits wearing a bathing suit in public "can still throw me for a bit of a loop."
    Fat-acceptance advocates are starting to organize to promote anti-bias laws, encourage tolerance in health care and the workplace and help retailers recognize the profit potential of catering to plus-size customers.
    "People are just beginning to think about being empowered," said Lynn McAfee, director of medical advocacy at the nonprofit Council on Size and Weight Discrimination.
    "The emphasis has just been 'lose weight and everything will be fine,' and it's becoming really clear that people aren't losing weight," she said. "So we want to shift the emphasis to making us as healthy as we can be at whatever weight we are."
    Activists say the movement is beginning to amass some victories, from larger seat belts in cars to a decision by the Supreme Court in Canada that obese and disabled people traveling on airplanes can't be forced to buy a second seat.
    The Fox television network is developing a reality show featuring "average looking" people called "More to Love," billed as a "dating show for the rest of us."
    The National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance, a civil rights group formed in 1969, has found new life as fat-acceptance advocates gain force online.
    There are now more than 50 fat-acceptance blogs and more than a dozen books promoting the idea, from Linda Bacon's "Health at Every Size" to Wendy Shanker's "The Fat Girl's Guide to Life." There are even romance novels featuring plus-sized characters with names like "Dangerous Curves Ahead."
    But the dominant view remains that overweight people should be focused on losing weight.
    Some two-thirds of Americans are considered overweight or obese. Cities across the country have declared wars on obesity, calling it a costly public health crisis that increases the risk of heart disease, type two diabetes and certain cancers.
    Obesity-related health care cost upward of $100 billion a year, research shows.
    PERVASIVE DISCRIMINATION
    There are no U.S. laws prohibiting weight discrimination, and only one state, Michigan, has an anti-weight bias law. Legislatures in Massachusetts and Nevada have taken up size-bias bills, but similar efforts have failed in recent years.
    Weight discrimination is pervasive, said Rebecca Puhl, director of research at Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.
    An "obesity wage penalty" -- larger employees getting paid less regardless of job performance -- is widespread, and research shows overweight people are less likely to land a job or be promoted than a non-obese worker, she said.
    "We do need to fight obesity, but not obese people," said Puhl. "Individuals ... who are discriminated against because of their weight are more likely to engage in unhealthy eating behaviors and avoidance of physical activity."
    Anecdotal evidence also suggests overweight people avoid trips to the doctor out of fear of being mocked.
    According to NAAFA, about 70 percent of overweight and obese women have experienced bias from doctors. Others complain of being turned down by health-insurance companies.
    Bloggers in the fat-o-sphere track cases of discrimination they say go uncovered in the mainstream media.
    Just recently, United Airlines, a unit of UAL Corp, said it will require obese passengers bumped from full flights to purchase two seats on a subsequent flight. That would match the policies of other carriers, including Continental, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines.
    SEXY AT ANY SIZE
    Deb Malkin, 39, considers herself a fat-acceptance advocate but leaves the political battles to others.
    Instead, in what she describes as a labor of love, Malkin has opened ReDress, a plus-sized vintage clothing boutique in New York's Brooklyn borough.
    Housed in an airy 3,000 square-foot (280 square meter) space, ReDress sells frilly dresses, formal gowns and jeans, all in size 14 and up.
    One recent afternoon, shoppers carried armloads of clothing to spacious dressing rooms, while sales assistants compared the comfort of ReDress to the more typical shopping humiliations of plus-sized consumers.
    "There's a whole indy fashion world that we don't have access to," said Malkin. "I think women just come in here and are so excited."
    Bevin Branlandingham, who considers herself a fat activist, has worked in Malkin's store since it opened in November.
    Sorting through lingerie, a frock from the 1960s and a colorful size 22 dress by Calvin Klein, Branlandingham said she likes to help women overcome hatred of their bodies.
    Branlandingham, who is partial to dresses with plunging neck lines, says she discourages women from buying so-called goal outfits that are too small and instead pick out things that flatter their figures.
    "I feel like my life's mission is to make the world safer for people to love themselves no matter what their differences," she said.

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    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    I've seen those blogs linked all over the place in feminist blogs. While I agree that nobody should be dehumanized for the way they look, they go too far in the other direction. The official party line that there are NO ADVERSE HEALTH SIDE-EFFECTS whatsoever related to weight. None. It's all propaganda from the Evil Dieting Industry, don't you know.

    Helping raise people's self-esteem is one thing-luring them into a sense of complacency that might stop them from attempting to address a serious weight problem is another.
    "Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck." - Joss Whedon

    "The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance." -Benjamin Franklin

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    are also educating one another about how to improve overweight people's health.

    I don't have a huge problem with obese people but I do have a problem with the idea of promoting it as not being a health risk. Here's an educational thought: eat less, exercise more...you'll lose weight, feel better and be much healthier.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member sparkly's Avatar
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    Too bad if it hurts people's feelings to be taught that you have to eat healthy and exercise in order to maintain a healthy body and not be obese. ITA that no one should be ridiculed or made fun of for how they look, no matter what it's about. But I stop short of supporting a group of people who want to teach children that it's ok and healthy to be obese, because it isn't. Naturally, we should all treat each other with compassion and respect, but these people are taking it way too far, and if they're successful, they could put kids' health at risk.
    Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkly View Post
    But I stop short of supporting a group of people who want to teach children that it's ok and healthy to be obese, because it isn't.
    ITA

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Right, when i see a herd of these pachyderms undulating down a street in some sort of buffet migratory protest, then i'll consider what they have to say.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Since when did not being able to push your ass away from the buffet table become a civil rights issue? You're not born with a smoked ham in your mouth.
    Last edited by kingcap72; April 30th, 2009 at 11:22 AM.

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    Silver Member chattykathy's Avatar
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    Not all fat people stuff their faces. Some of them are fat due to hormonal imbalances, or steriods, like from asthma medicines...but saying big is beautiful and natural...only to a certain extent. When it's a health problem, it's not beautiful.
    ""Somebody needs to talk to Alex Castellanos: he may not be doing sex right if he thinks an Obama speech is 'like sex'."~ Rush Limbaugh

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkly View Post
    Too bad if it hurts people's feelings to be taught that you have to eat healthy and exercise in order to maintain a healthy body and not be obese. ITA that no one should be ridiculed or made fun of for how they look, no matter what it's about. But I stop short of supporting a group of people who want to teach children that it's ok and healthy to be obese, because it isn't. Naturally, we should all treat each other with compassion and respect, but these people are taking it way too far, and if they're successful, they could put kids' health at risk.
    I agree with everything you've written here. Kudos.

    My sis was 28 years old when she had gastric bypass surgery. If anyone should have been healthy and obese it should have been her at her young age. Yet she wasn't, which is why her insurance company agreed to pay for the procedure. She was borderline diabetic, her triglycerides were through the roof, and her blood pressure was high. She worked two jobs at the time, so being sedentary wasn't her problem.

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    As an obese person, I can understand this to a point. I don't think it's about encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle so much as it's about accepting people for who and where they are at any given moment.

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    Elite Member qwerty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chattykathy View Post
    Not all fat people stuff their faces. Some of them are fat due to hormonal imbalances, or steriods, like from asthma medicines...but saying big is beautiful and natural...only to a certain extent. When it's a health problem, it's not beautiful.
    True. For some, a good diet and exercise are not enough. Hormonal issues and side effects from medication need to be addressed first or nothing's shifting.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    oh fer gods sake, real medical issues accounting for fatties is about 2%. The rest are just lardasses who need to put down the fucking twinkies.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Right, when i see a herd of these pachyderms undulating down a street in some sort of buffet migratory protest, then i'll consider what they have to say.
    Oh Grim, you do talk purdy.

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