The War On Fat, Part 2 (Con't)

Therefore, making BMI another grade on the report card would tend to be more of the problem but made worse rather than a solution. "Kids who are overweight have great difficulties with self esteem," says Dr. Adelaide Robb, medical director of inpatient psychiatry at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. "Shaming kids by telling them they are fat is no good."18 In fact, shame does not tend to lead to positive changes, behaviors, or attitudes. Instead, shame tends to be toxic, leading to many dangerous problems such as eating disorders (such an anorexia or bulimia,) emotional instability, arrested social and/or character development, and even homicide and/or suicide. Shame rarely leads to healthy patterns that people of all sizes need, such as healthy eating patterns, healthy food choices, ample amounts of appropriate exercise, basic hygiene, or even basic healthcare. Interestingly, the things that a school can do, such as give solid, basic information and education on most of those specific items in a health class and a physical education class can be done without the intrusive and humiliating weighing, measuring, and then sending a personal body grade home in a public document. So, perhaps these efforts may be well intended, but they go too far and tend to cause even more problems. Even more telling, though, is that the healthy behaviors desired by the legislators, insurers, and health scientists are desirable for people of all sizes because human beings do come in a variety of size, including fat, naturally, through no fault of their own, and those fat people can be healthy, too. Fat is not a disease, and fat people are not an enemy.

"The War On Fat" Footnotes

1 BMI - Body Mass Index: Home, Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

2 "Aim for a Healthy Weight: Assess Your Risk," National Institutes of Health, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute,

3 Ibid.

4 BMI - Body Mass Index: BMI for Children and Teens, Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

5 "National Report Card Shows States 'Failing' to Check Obesity: 'F' for 23 States in Battle Against Nation's Worsening Weight Problem," Office of University Relations, University of Baltimore, 9 August 2004 Press Release,

6 Bruce Goldfarb, "States Failing to Take Anti-Obesity Initiatives," DOC News, October 1, 2004, Vol. 1 No. 2, p. 15, American Diabetes Association,

7 Ibid.

8 The UB Obesity Report Card on State Efforts to Control Obesity can be viewed here:

9 Goldfarb, op. cit.





14 Marian Uhlman, "Schools Find a Mission in Fighting Childhood Obesity," The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 12, 2003,

15 Ibid.

16 Ibid.

17 "Report Cards No Place for Fat Reporting," 2/3/05,

18 Meredith Stouffel, "An 'F' for Fat?" February 17, 2005, CBS News, Washington, D.C.

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