Wednesday, June 02, 2004

A diet of hysteria

This is my review of Paul Campos's book The Obesity Myth. While the book has some faults, there are a number of very good things about it. It dismantles the logical framework behind the advice to diet: the association between obesity and ill-health is not nearly as clear-cut as we are led to believe; where a correlation does exist, it is probably other factors that are to blame like exercise and poverty, not the fat itself; losing weight seems difficult and does not last; and dieting may, in any case, be worse for your health than staying fat.

The other theme he picks up on well is the notion of the obese as an object of disgust. Since obesity is supposed to be a result of a lack of self-control (which may be true of how people get quite as fat as they are), those who are fat must be morally weak and feckless. Since the poor are far more likely to be fat than the middle classes, obesity becomes a way of talking dismissively about the lower orders with any of that awkward stuff about elitism and race.

spiked-health | Article | A diet of hysteria


At 6:59 PM, Anonymous said...

Thanks for a good, concise review. I'm curious as to your take on the books faults. I haven't finished reading it yet.

Eve L.


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