"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Global Warming? Blame the Fatties.

Another annoying article in which a "study" and its "findings" have nothing to do with science or environmental preservation and everything to do with discrimination against fat people:

Obese and overweight people require more fuel to transport them and the food they eat, and the problem will worsen as the population literally swells in size, a team at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine says.

This adds to food shortages and higher energy prices, the school's researchers Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts wrote in the journal Lancet on Friday.

OMG! I knew those gross fatties were behind global warming! And now we have proof!

In their model, the researchers pegged 40 percent of the global population as obese with a body mass index (BMI) of near 30. Many nations are fast approaching or have surpassed this level, Edwards said.

BMI is a calculation of height to weight, and the normal range is usually considered to be 18 to 25, with more than 25 considered overweight and above 30 obese.

First of all, any study that relies on BMI is highly suspect, considering that the BMI system is total bullshit.

Then there's this:

The researchers found that obese people require 1,680 daily calories to sustain normal energy and another 1,280 calories to maintain daily activities, 18 percent more than someone with a stable BMI.

Because thinner people eat less and are more likely to walk than rely on cars, a slimmer population would lower demand for fuel for transportation and for agriculture, Edwards said.

Seriously? Come on now. If they're really going to try to use the argument that a higher consumption of calories contributes to negative effects on the environment, why not focus on calorie consumption instead of obesity?

Even if you subscribe to their logic that larger physical size necessarily equals higher calorie consumption, there is more to size and calorie consumption than just fat. Tall people require more calories than short people. Large-framed people require more calories than small-framed people. Muscular people require more calories than non-muscular people. The only difference between these factors and fat is that we are given a free pass to hate fat and to judge fat people as much as we want. If one were to try to apply the same prejudices to tall people or to muscular people or to thin people with large apetites or to people with fast metabolisms, everyone would recognize it as completely ridiculous. But when someone comes up with new reasons to hate fat, the media can't wait to report it.

So, thanks to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Reuters, and MSN for choosing to perpetuate discrimination and maintain the status quo.


Anonymous said...

Hrmmm, although I am fat myself (right now), I don't think I want the anti-obesity status quo done away with so quickly. When I was morbidly obese, I consumed a huge number of calories just to maintain my weight. It is really unbelievable in retrospect. that diet was bad for the environment, bad for my body, and most of all, it was bad for my budget.

Global warming and fuel shortages shouldn't be lumped on the backs of the obese (especially not using BMI), but it's hard to deny that they aren't helping things. We've been living in a time of plenty where it always seems that there's enough to go around, but when there isn't, anything that could be considered gluttony quickly raises eyebrows. Obesity is a luxury.

Their method seems odd, though. To get the numbers they came up with, they'd have to standardize obesity, when in real life some people are 20lbs overweight, and some are 200. Sounds like they just wanted a proof of concept and some media attention.

Tracey said...

The point is that the media is always trying to find a way to blame things on fat people that are not in any way the sole responsibility of obesity.

Here's another post on this story I noticed yesterday, and the blogger points out that increasing your level of exercise also greatly increases a person's caloric intake, but no one EVER dares to blame exercisers for their global-warming-causing calorie consumption. It's all a way of scapegoating fat people.