Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Fat hatred

Cross posted

Global warming is all the fatties' fault! Of course!! And even better, in addition to paying for indulgences, we've now got a scapegoat as well.

Some researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine have compared fat people to gas guzzlers, and opined that being fat is bad for the environment. According to their nifty calculations, fat people produce one tonne more of carbon dioxide each year than slim people.

FFS! Let's put that in perspective. Taking the UK as vaguely representative of developed nations, and because the researchers are based in the UK, then each citizen of the UK on average is responsible for 10 tonnes of emissions per year. So even if the researchers' numbers are correct, then being fat only adds about 10% more emissions than being slim. The problem is not being fatter, but existing and consuming resources at an excessive rate at all. And as it turns out, all citizens of developed countries do that.

This "research" is mere fat hatred, in fancy guise.

H/T: Stuff

Disclosure: As it turns out, I'm quite slim. This is nothing to do with me personally, and everything to do with scapegoating a certain part of the population.

14 comments:

Alison said...

I can't even see how they'd get such a result unless they made so many assumptions for which there just isn't evidence.

You'd have to assume that fat people eat more than thin people on average (there's quite a bit of evidence that suggests the difference is statistically insignificant) and drive cars more/take public transport less (also doubtful). You'd presumably have to ignore the fact that many forms of exercise undertaken by both fat AND thin people are carbon intensive because they occur in brightly lit, air-conditioned gyms, on electric machines, and gym-goers often guzzle water from flimsy plastic bottles designed to be thrown out.

Apart from anything else, you'd have to assume that fat people get thin instantaneously when they diet or exercise. Sure. That's why a huge proportion of people (women especially) are on a diet at any given time, sometimes for months or years on end.

Crap science, crap social awareness, crap study. I'm sick of this stuff.

Anna said...

It's such a strange way to even broach the issue of weight. We don't accuse sick people of taking a disproportionate share of health system resources - why the 'envy' angle?

Alison said...

We don't accuse sick people of taking a disproportionate share of health system resourcesWe (well not me personally, but many people!) do when sickness is perceived to have been caused by lifestyle - society blames fat people with diabetes for their disease (but not thin people with the same disease), people who smoke for cancer, people with chronic fatigue/infertility/some cancers/heart disease for having been "too stressed". There's a lot of magical thinking behind it - "I don't do/eat like/smoke/look like that, so I'm safe from disease."

Sadly I think fat individuals get an awful lot of blame for every sort of ill health they happen to experience, and now they're being blamed for society's ills too.

muerk said...

Yeah, that irked me too.

M-H said...

Don't start me on the 'blame game' for health conditions! I have a friend with type 1 diabetes (familial) that she had diagnosed in her 30s. She is slim and active, very compliant with her mediation, but for an unknown reason her blood sugars are just really hard to control. The amount of criticism she has had to put up with from ignorant people is unbelievable. This is the downside of public health programs that attempt to educate us on risk factors: it makes people think that they know what causes disease in an individual, intead of what makes it more likely across a population. All my friend eve did wrong was choose the wrong parents!

A Nonny Moose said...

I also find fat-blaming thinly veiled class blaming too. Just in our local media outlets alone, if there's a discussion topic related to fast food, you can guarantee a cornucopia of poor-bashing.

Just more grist for the white privilige/elitist mill.

david said...

I read the article on stuff.co.nz, if we take this to its logical conclusion civilisation should go back to the stone age.

At work we decided to celebrate the sentiment of the article with an impromptu traditional healthy kiwi morning tea consisting of sausage rolls, savories, cream donuts, lamingtons and chocolate brownies!

Mary-Lou said...

And yet you miss the obvious, and something the Green Party has been telling us for years. We consume TOO many resources.

People who consume more than others therefore are causing more damage to the environment than those who eat less. This isn't some sort of class hatred - as much as you'd like it to be! Wealthy people are fat too.

hungrymama said...

If I've grown fat on local, organic produce and switch to prepackaged lean-cuisine from the supermarket freezer am I doing the planet a favour even if I lose a whole bunch of weight?

Deborah said...

And yet you miss the obvious, and something the Green Party has been telling us for years. We consume TOO many resources.Gosh, Mary-Lou. That would be exactly what I said in the original post. To wit:

The problem is not being fatter, but existing and consuming resources at an excessive rate at all. And as it turns out, all citizens of developed countries do that.

Cactus Kate said...

No more fat hatred than the following:

Plastic bag hatred
Motor Vehicle hatred
Plane hatred
Open fire hatred
Dairy and sheep farming hatred

Another example of stupid greenies planning to take over the world with this garbage.

Behind it of course is a whole lot of people parading green values........for PROFIT.

Mary-Lou said...

Deborah - and yet you say:

"research" is mere fat hatred". Utter tripe. You're just pandering to the stereotypical feminist demographic.

The problem is fatter people eating too much processed garbage. Don't sugar coat it or label it a conspiracy, have the guts to call it what it is. Greed!

Julie said...

Mary Lou, beware the path to trolldom and kindly disagree respectfully...

Random lurker said...

http://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2009/04/24/are-fat-people-killing-the-world/