While I write a bit about bodies, fat and 'the obesity epidemic' I don't write that much about the health aspects of this. Mostly because I largely find them irrelevant. Other people can do very good jobs of proving that the causative relationship between having a high BMI and negative health outcomes remain unproven at best. I think that in many ways this gives too much ground. Even if, someone down the track, they managed to prove that there is a causative relationship between being fat and dying earlier, then my problems with the way people talk about 'the obesity epidemic' wouldn't change. Partly this is empirical - we have a couple of generations of women (particularly white middle-class women) who have been (and are being) told that their value as a human being was dependent on not taking up space, that hasn't made all middle-class white women skinny. But it's also part of my wider analysis: I don't believe that health issues are an individual problem (let alone an individual moral problem).
But sometimes I read something that makes me go 'How can anyone believe the shit that gets promulgated?"
In this case I was listening to National Radio (I can't find the interview on-line but it was a man I don't like, which probably makes it Brian Crump or Jim Mora) and they were talking about the death rate among Pakeha and Maori.* In this discussion the interview mentioned part of this was because the death rate from cardio-vascular disease has decreased hugely (over 50% for some ethnicities). This was partly because cadio-vascular disease is decreasing, and partly because people with cardio-vascular disease are living longer.
So where's this 'obesity epidemic' and how is it supposed to be killing people if death from cardio-vascular disease has halved?
* Apparently the gap has gotten smaller, which is great until you hear that the Maori death rate between the ages of 1-74 is still two to three times that of Euopean/Other. Also just because it can't be repeated enough health disparities were widening in the 80s and 90s:
It seems likely widening social gaps during the 80s and 90s, including income and unemployment differences between ethnic groups, were at least partly responsible for the widening health inequalities, Prof Blakely said.