In response to the article "Why are Americans so Fat?" in the Tuesday, Oct. 18 issue of the Collegian.
"Challenge yourself and think about a solution the next time you see a fat person."
The author of this article did limited, superficial research regarding obesity on which to base her opinions and frustrations, there are many points that I would like to clarify coming from a nutrition professional's standpoint.
"What upsets me about fat people is that the government spends millions of dollars trying to educate…to control obesity."
While a valid opinion, this frustration is misguided in that it should be aimed at the government and their allocation of tax dollars, not overweight individuals. This is like saying I am angry with women because of the amount of taxes going to breast cancer research and prevention or I am angry with certain minorities because of their higher risk of sickle cell anemia.
She alludes to the money spent on nutrition education essentially as a waste. She fails to realize that every person in the United States, myself included, can benefit from increase nutritional knowledge and better eating habits. Much of this money is focused on increasing health, not just losing weight.
While no socio-economic status (SES) is immune to being overweight, lower SES communities have less access to fruits and vegetables, and the access they do have is often priced higher simply because of the lower supply of these items in the inner city. Thus, these individuals turn to readily available food options such as fast food resulting in weight gain.
Much is to blame regarding the obesity pandemic including: increasing portion sizes, lack of corporate responsibility, lack of individual responsibility, genetics, and misinterpretation of scientific research by the mass media. While I admire the author's passion, isolating individuals secondary to their weight status is sure to do two things: create a bias regardless of actual health status in overweight and increase the prevalence of disordered eating. Neither of these or the authors intent, but they are byproducts of her suggestions.
Kyle S. Burger RD, MPH