romana03: The 4th Doctor thinks books are dangerous. (Default)
romana03 ([personal profile] romana03) wrote2012-08-28 12:08 pm

“Alcohol, Tobacco and Obesity: Morality, Mortality and the New Public Health”

Saw this (rather old!) blog post and thought it sounded interesting:

I have a real problem with the constant media discourse around 'the obesity epidemic' and particularly when relating to children and so this was something I would be very interested to read. Speaking from a non-medical point of view, however, I don't think obesity deserves to be in quite the same category as alcohol and tobacco.

As the writer points out, you can't look at obesity as purely controllable and the reasons for weight gain or not aren't fully understood. Someone can eat the same, and do the same amount of exercise and still gain weight when compared to someone else. They do not have agency over everything concerning weight.

Arguably though, people do make a choice to drink and smoke. Yes, tobacco and alcohol are addictive and the choice isn't always an easy one, but it is something over which people have agency. They do choose to start drinking and/or smoking. One does not choose a genetic propensity to gain weight, or chronic illness that affects your metabolism or whatever.
lilacsigil: Gabby Sidibe dancing (Gabby Sidibe)

[personal profile] lilacsigil 2012-08-28 05:54 am (UTC)(link)
Also, unlike consumption of tobacco or excessive consumption of alcohol (a rate which differs for different people), obesity is not causative of ill-health. It's correlated with ill-health for most people (because many of the things that make you sick also make you fat) but obesity in itself is the definite cause of only one condition: osteoporosis of the knees.

That said, though I'm a non-drinker and non-smoker, both alcohol and tobacco use are hugely over-represented among mentally ill (and/or poor) people, which says to me that there's other things going on in those cases, too.