A raging debate about fat shaming is burning up the airwaves and internet bandwidth these days. In case you missed it, Bill Maher on his HBO show said we need to bring back shame for people of a certain girth. That nasty message was replied to by James Corden who says he struggles with his weight and shape. Try references 1,2 and 3 for some of this contention.
A healthy sense of shame is certainly deserved and civilizing in some contexts. But in the case of obesity it is most certainly not. First of all it doesn’t work to fix this problem and so blame and torture is just undeserved torture of which there has always been plenty and still way too much in this world.
Calling out craziness and outrageous behavior is Bill Maher’s schtick. But on this one he is himself outrageous and obnoxious.
Then someone posed the question in the New York Times opinion section – what’s the alternative to shame? What works for reversing the obesity epidemic?
“Underlying this question is the assumption that this must be simple. Bruce Lee, healthcare journalist and professor at Johns Hopkins, addresses that assumption head on. When asked what’s the one thing we must do to stop obesity, he has a simple answer. ‘Stop asking that question.’
This is a complex problem caused by a perfect storm of many factors. Searching for a fix for obesity is like thinking in the 1970s that we would find a cure for cancer. Instead, we found some cures, many good treatments, and some good public health strategies. But no tidy solutions.
Obesity is no different in that regard.” (4)
While we’re at it, what’s the cure for meanness and hate and tribalism?
John DiTraglia M.D. is a Pediatrician in Portsmouth. He can be reached by e-mail- firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (740) 354-6605.