How the bathroom scale fueled American fat shaming
Stephanie Buck
365

The link between weight and health is crystal clear — causation is one of the hardest things in the world to prove, it’s practically impossible in fact. But the overwhelming majority of evidence does more than hint at the inevitable truth.

There are thousands of shades of gray in between however, as always. Nothing is so matter of fact and thus the gray areas are what people want to focus in on as a hole in the data. We can poke logical holes in basically every study ever produced — from global warming data to data linking cigarettes to cancer, they all have their own issues.

This idea we should ignore weight as a vital health statistic is beyond reason — it’s as if claiming that because we know a few people who smoked and lived to be 90 that we should dismiss data correlating it to cancer and, possibly worse (but not as feared), emphysema. No, not everyone needs to be the same weight, or have the same BMI, or any other health statistics available. And no, none of those alone are the end all be all of health measurements — that’s not how statistics works. But they aren’t meaningless, not even close. They mean quite a lot and there is a much higher chance of health in a given healthy range of weight than health outside of it (on either side of it, frankly).

There is a lot of evidence that being overweight damages the body for longer than the overweightness actually persists. There is also evidence that the dieting fads we have tried all these years make things worse (or should I say, the way we’ve used them) because individuals fluctuate constantly rather than maintain something healthy. This isn’t a problem in the data, though, it’s a problem with us. It is more important to have a good process in place, and even if that process doesn’t produce results in the way of weight, it will produce in some form or fashion in a way that could improve overall health — it’s just that more often than not weight is also a benefactor of a good process thus it is the one that is most easily measured, at home especially.

It is an absolute con to run around saying “it doesn’t matter what size you are”, it absolutely does in some way. It’s not the ONLY thing that matters, but it matters, and it’s a very dangerous game to be playing allowing children to grow up thinking that it doesn’t matter or that they shouldn’t be judged for their outward appearance when it comes to size. I get the intent, and it’s good, but it’s terribly misleading. It absolutely matters that you maintain a healthy weight within a specific range that should be designated based on a number of factors, but it should also be more than just weight that you shoot for. But ignoring the really strong correlations because no one has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt (again, basically impossible) that poor weight creates poor health is beyond reason.

Why we’re so quick to remove smoking from our lives but not shitty food is just a crime against society — we say that it doesn’t matter, that we shouldn’t be defined by it, or whatever, but these are merely excuses to ignore the reality, that eating poorly will kill us faster. It’s that simple.

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