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Georgia becomes a school yard bully & another study for HAES.

January 23, 2012

Originally posted on Fat Chicks Rule by Lara Frater.

Early last year, I criticized a “Health” organization in Atlanta, Georgia for ads that both victimized and villainized fat children. I’ve have bought up before that fat people are either victimized for not knowing any better or villianized for delibrately becoming fat. Most health care agencies tend to use the victimization mentality. If only those poor stupid fat people would understand healthy eating and exercise they would be healthy and slender!

However this organization seems to have decided to keep the negative ads and it seems they have now taken a step further into full scale bullying of fat kids.  Ads such as this one (I have used a cut version from the Huffington post as I don’t want to show the full ad):

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For some reason, this caption disturbed me the most. 

I have been fat since I was 10 years old. I am now forty, still fat, happily married, in a good job and independant.

I am still my parents little girl.

What I do know is the worst diet in the world wasn’t Weight Watchers or Atkins or Slim Fast or Nutrisystem or (I got a bunch more) but the stigma diet. Playing devil’s advocate here for a moment.  I wouldn’t start another diet unless I was motivated. So I never started one when I felt ashamed. Feeling shame made me not want to bother dieting, or lose weight or do anything because I was a monster and not worthy.

I’m not the only one who thinks of this as outright bullying. Paul Campos pointed out in his Daily Beast article:

Oh heavens no: we certainly don’t want to shame anyone!  After all, we value, and indeed treasure, human “diversity” in all its forms—except, apparently, body diversity…

…Even if we put aside the difficult question of how you can avoid shaming and stigmatizing people if at the same time you’re claiming that their bodies are diseased as a consequence of behavior that’s within their (or at least their parents’) control, there are other problems with the theory that it’s useful to inform fat children that in this culture it’s not considered desirable to be fat.

Harriet Brown points out

Efforts like this one emphasize the idea that weight loss is a matter of personal responsibility, and they demonize fat children and teens in the name of helping them. How do kids feel when they see kids who look like them being targeted as not OK? They already know it’s bad to be fat; in one recent study, children as young as three showed a strong preference for thinness over fat, and made comments like “I hate her because she has a fat stomach” and “She’s fat and ugly.”

I firmly believe to the creators of these ad campaigns don’t care about children, they hate fat people. There is a change.org petition against these ads, if you haven’t signed it, please do.  And it’s a waste of 50 million dollars when I would much rather it be used to, say, take care of Georgia’s children.

And studies have shown these “inventions” do not cause weight loss.

 Waters’ group aimed to update a 2005 review that found many pediatric obesity interventions were not able to reduce weight gain but were successful in promoting a healthy diet and an increased level of physical activity.

So an “intervention” causes healthy habits but no weight loss, is it a failure.

Meanwhile if they really really wanted to help the children, they might look at some research. For example check this study out, look at that conclusion:

Conclusions: Healthy lifestyle habits are associated with a significant decrease in mortality regardless of baseline body mass index.

Is anyone here tired of my comparing HAES to weight based health? Because I have one more.

Strong4life = shame, eating disorders, stigmitization, humilation, marginalization and stress.

HAES = Eating right, movement, healthy ingrained habits, body love, oh and significant decreased mortality.

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