Illinois University: Racism Is at the Root of Fight against Obesity

A health brief published by the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health claims “fatphobia” is rooted in Western society’s history of slavery, racism, and classism.

It’s getting difficult to keep up with all the things we are supposed to be offended by.

Apparently Charles Darwin, while doing the whole evolution thing, took time to create a hierarchy of civilization. This construct by Darwin and “other race scientists” used fatness and differing physical characteristics to signify being “uncivilized.”

The idea, the brief says, was perpetuated through the 19th and 20th centuries. Somehow it also controlled women through “temperance” and is manifest in “Desirability Politics.” This is the ideal of thinness and whiteness opening doors socially, politically, and culturally.

The word “obesity” is to be replaced, according to the university publication. Now preferred is “people with larger bodies.” Public health campaigns to address the “obesity epidemic” are blamed for a 66% increase in “the incidence of weight stigma.”

Furthermore, historical injustices in the present food environment are built on stolen land and labor. Because of this, Americans live with widespread “food apartheid” and trauma for certain populations.

Criticism is leveled at using body mass index (BMI) due the measurement not considering health behaviors or body composition. Not to be left out, capitalism is also at the root of this evil due to weight-control programs receiving funding from “weight loss and drug companies.”

Additionally, the brief claims that weight concerns do not factor in people who use food for a “safe and secure coping mechanism” to deal with trauma and stress.

What about the health issues with obesity that we constantly hear about? The School of Public Health cites research showing heart disease, diabetes, eating disorders, sedentariness, and even early death are caused by experiencing weight stigma.

Not by personal choices or lifestyle. Just the stigma. The brief specifically asserts negative consequences of pushing the narrative that weight is a person’s responsibility and controllable.

As time goes on, there are more and more academics who try to remove responsibility from ourselves for our actions. Somewhere, someone did something that forced poor decisions, we are merely pawns to past injustices.