There’s been so much good writing on the internet in response to the AMA’s decision to label “obesity” a disease.
1.) Lesley Kinzel, as usual, has a great analysis.
The point I like best actually comes from one of her comments:
The metabolic issues that the AMA is so eager to attribute to ALL obese people are not, in fact, exclusive to the fat. They happen to people of different sizes, and plenty of fat people never develop them. If we want to name a disease, maybe we should be researching how metabolic syndrome evolves and how it influences and is influenced by body size, rather than pointing at a group of people and based on their size, diagnose them all with issues they may well not even have?
2.) Marilyn Wann has a good piece that incorporates FA and HAES 101 at the Daily Kos. She is even brave enough to engage with the many commenters who just don’t get it, and I admire her so much for that. Not everyone has the Sanity Watchers points to do stuff like that–I certainly don’t!–and no one should have to, but it’s an important way of getting the message across to people who might never have heard it before. And even if they can’t wrap their minds around it now, there’s a good chance it will sink in eventually for some of them.
3.) Charlotte Cooper has a different viewpoint, which is also important.
Although the AMA news is terrible, I think it’s worth remembering that fat activists are moving away from the values that underpin obesity discourse, and have been doing so for a long time. A new cohort of politicised fat scholars are moving through the ranks and are threatening the parameters of traditional obesity research. Beyond the academy, our networks are gaining in strength, breadth and momentum. How long will it be until we have our own models for fat community health provision? Therapy practices like mine are only the beginning.
I understand the panic and upset about being labelled as a disease, it is utterly dehumanising. At the same time, the AMA is not the authority of me or my experience as a fat person. In many ways, I do feel like a treatment-resistant disease; one that is attacking the values that the AMA upholds like a virus in its system.
I’m really glad to see multiple types of activism springing up around the AMA’s decision. A diversity of activist tactics makes a strong movement, and increases our potential to reach people.