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Obesity: the last socially acceptable prejudice?

Posted Jun 19 2009 5:41pm
Dr David Ashton, director of Healthier Weight, has had an article published in The Guardian online blog (Joe Public Blog) entitled "The Great Obesity Myth" ( ). In it, he argues that contrary to popular belief, people who are obese are not obese because they are suffering from some form of psychological disorder, but in part, because of a genetic predisposition to obesity. In part, the article is responding to common and increasing practice in the USA and parts of Europe that requires potential candidates for gastric surgery to undertake pre-surgery psychological testing to assess their suitability. The article is interesting and worth a read, but perhaps more interesting is the wide range of comments (more than 100) provoked by its content. Some of the comments are quite outrageous and provide evidence in support of Dr Ashton's suggestion that obesity is perhaps the last socially acceptable form of prejudice. I couldn't resist posting my own comment - it turned out to be the very last one before the article was closed to further comments. Here's what I wrote:

" Somebody above wanted evidence - here is some. I don't have a psychological 'disorder' but have suffered from depression, anxiety and low self esteem for years. Having recently undergone gastric band surgery I am steadily losing loads of weight. Now, my 'mood' has changed dramatically. I am already much more self-confident, I'm no longer depressed, and in fact, I feel absolutely fantastic! Obesity has always been theresultof my psychological state, not thecause. Well done Dr Ashton for saying the unsayable. Obesity as the last socially acceptable prejudice? Yes it is, it shouldn't be, and given a few more people willing to think seriously about this issue instead of jumping on 'let's bash the fatties' bandwagon, it won't be for much longer."
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