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Now it’s racist to talk about obesity


ACCORDING to the World Obesity Federation’s 2023 report, more than half the world’s population will be obese by 2023, and obesity among children will double. The global economic impact is estimated at $4.32trillion. As the investigative journalist Gerald Posner says in a new Substack post, this is about 3 per cent of global GDP, the same as the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020.

But obesity has become a deeply disfavoured word, Posner points out, quoting several sources, among them this deeply absurd statement found in a resource guide published by the University of Chicago‘s School of Public Health: ‘Around 81 percent of societies historically have favored people in larger bodies. Larger bodies signified wealth and prosperity while thinness signified poverty and weakness. However, this began to change due to racism and eugenics. Charles Darwin and other race scientists created a hierarchy of civilization, placing white men on top and people of color, specifically black people, at the bottom, considering them to be “less civilized”. Fatness and differing body characteristics were used to justify lack of civilization: fatness used as a marker of “uncivilized behavior” while thinness was “more evolved”. This idea was maintained throughout the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries as a way to justify slavery, racism and classism, and control women through “temperance”. This ideology has perpetuated Desirability Politics – where thinness and whiteness are given more access to social, political and cultural capital.’

This is far from the truth, Posner says, for on the contrary the World Obesity Report ‘demonstrates that obesity is a mostly equal opportunity disease for all races. Where there are statistically significant variations, it is usually in favor of people of color. For instance, the increased rates for obesity predicted by 2035 for Sub-Saharan African men and women are expected to be about half that of men and women in Central, South and North America.’

In the end, as Posner concludes, the deeply disturbing silence surrounding the damning conclusions of the World Obesity Federation is one aspect of the assault on the freedom of speech: ‘I wrote last month in Substack about “The Assault on Freedom of Speech”. It is not always, however, about direct censorship, cancellations, and the refusal to debate ideas in the public square. As the ghosting of the World Obesity Federation warnings illustrate, news is sometimes filtered and stories that do not fit certain political narratives are omitted. Only the Word Police can be satisfied that their assault on some language means the public is less informed on important issues.’

This article appeared in From Symptoms to Causes on March 25, 2023, and is republished by kind permission.

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Thorsteinn Siglaugsson
Thorsteinn Siglaugsson
Thorsteinn Siglaugsson is an Icelandic economist, consultant and writer. Author of From Symptoms to Causes - Applying the Logical Thinking Process to an Everyday Problem.

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