Bill Maher Calls Out American Obesity Crisis, Says Fat Shaming Needs To Come Back

Clara D.

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It would be great to take a large bite (...) out of the percentage of obese and overweight people, as it is a serious problem. Shaming people them isn't going to do it.

For example, I've tried to shame people from telling bad jokes, but they just keep telling them.
Orange you glad I didn't say banana?
 

Innula Zenovka

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From How To Be Right, by the British phone-in radio host, James O'Brien:

Imagine a put-upon mum who is vaguely aware of public health pronouncements concerning junk food and sugar. She’s short of cash and hates nothing more than buying her child something that the child won’t eat. What messages is she receiving as she wheels the pushchair home from the bus stop?

The bus stop itself, obviously, is adorned with a picture of golden fried chicken breasts, drumsticks, chips and a cob of comedy sweetcorn. The fizzy drink served alongside would, when I was a child in 1970s, have been more than enough for our family of four – today it is a single serving. The child, perhaps, has picked up advertising slogans from the TV and sings the one associated with the chicken chain or the burger chain on the 30-foot hoarding they walk past on the way under the railway bridge. Call it a 15-minute walk in an urban area and just count all the ads and billboards. But they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

As mentioned in regard to the FOBTs [Fixed Odds Betting Terminals], high streets in areas of lower wealth are increasingly dominated by takeaway outlets, so much so that I sometimes wonder how they all make a profit. How many will our notional mother pass before she gets home? And how hard would it be for her to believe that anything so widespread, so easily accessible and so popular could be seriously harmful? I don’t think this is patronising or ‘middle class’. It’s a simple acknowledgment of how common it is to live in an environment where the cheapest, most heavily promoted and most unhealthy food and drinks available are by far the most readily available.
 

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Agreed - though he is not wrong about the health implications. Fat shaming is never ok. I don't think there is anything wrong with encouraging people to be healthier, though. His delivery is abysmal.
There's a lot of factors he's not even considering, such as how both parents in two-parent families have to work to make ends meet, and often don't have time to cook anything remotely healthy (this affects one-parent families even more so); how healthy, nutritious food costs several times more than processed junk food; and how fat-shaming has proven to have the exact opposite effect from the one he's looking for. Yeah, he can fuck right off with that shit!
 

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For example, I've tried to shame people from telling bad jokes, but they just keep telling them.
So, what do you do if you get swallowed by an elephant? Run around 'til you get pooped out.
 
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He actually wants the dem candidates to address weight issues in America during a debate, like we don't have other HUGE pressing issues at the moment?

A skinny person with no healthcare is still going to get no healthcare just the same as a larger person so hey, can we focus on that and means of delivering healthcare to all, regardless of their weight? I want to hear their views on giving all Americans healthcare vs them wasting time on his rant of the week.

As repeated ad nauseum and should be understood by all but the most determined not to listen, weight can be determined by any number of issues besides overeating. Those who insist that it is the only cause are deliberately distorting or ignoring all factors in their zeal to decide that other people are lesser and worthy of scorn.
 

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"We shamed people out of smoking"?? WTF is he smoking? People are still smoking, and young people are still starting. And were little shamed into wearing seat belts, or did it perchance have anything to do with the safety features on newer cars?
I think it had more to do with fines for not buckling up.
 

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This seems relevant to this thread, though obviously the article raises questions well beyond fat shaming and body image, such as the effects of propelling people unprepare into social media stardom after winning TV talent shows.

The show, the band and the singer are all British, but I think readers from other countries will understand well enough what happened:

It’s astonishing what the world of celebrity can keep secret from outsiders. For almost eight years, no-one knew that Jesy Nelson – one quarter of the girl band Little Mix – had attempted suicide due to an onslaught of horrific online abuse. No-one knew that she used to starve herself to lose weight ahead of a performance. And every time she was too ill to join her band mates for a public appearance, no-one thought that illness was depression. Almost everyone, though, saw the abuse.

Anyone with a Twitter account in 2011 was aware of Jesy from Little Mix, whether they watched The X Factor or not, though, as Nelson recalls in her new BBC documentary Odd One Out, they probably saw her referred to as ‘the fat one’ or ‘the ugly one’.

“The whole world had an opinion on me,” she says at the beginning of the film, “and they weren’t good ones.” It’s heartbreaking to hear that when the band won the talent show, Nelson just wanted to go back to her normal life as a barmaid. Her mother, Janice, still feels that way.

As well as the trolls who stalk the internet, Odd One Out is a damning denouncement of social media itself. Nelson says that the moment she created her social media accounts at the behest of management, her whole world changed from an obliviously happy one to one in which she was fat, ugly and apparently worthy of death. “I feel like I lost Jess to social media,” says her mother
 

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:ROFLMAO: My favorite line
We don’t all have a sense of superiority that burns 35,000 calories a day.
Oh, and this comment is definitely one I will use in the future! Because people (and by people I mean complete F#ing strangers :poop:) always seem to feel entitled to comment on what an over weight person buys, orders or eats whether they know them or not.
“While you’re encouraging people to think about what goes into their mouths, just think a little harder about what comes out of yours.”
Thank you James Corden :applause:
 

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Hi. I'm a fat person.

Since adolescence I've had a constant urge to eat, even when full. Every second of every day. No one told me this wasn't normal. It was just my moral failing that I didn't have the willpower to resist it the way normal people did.

I know now that wasn't true. About 20 months ago, that appetite went away. I can control what I eat now, and it's not even hard. I'm slowly losing weight, 89 pounds so far, even though I'm not severely restricting calories.

My weight problem was caused by a biological problem, a very common one that is probably at the root of most obesity. I stumbled into safe and effective treatments for the root cause, treatments that are well documented in the scientific literature but not yet common medical practice.

My weight loss is not a moral triumph any more than being fat was a moral failing. It is purely a biological issue, and shame does absolutely nothing to cure it.
 

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"We shamed people out of smoking"?? WTF is he smoking? People are still smoking, and young people are still starting. And were little shamed into wearing seat belts, or did it perchance have anything to do with the safety features on newer cars?
While it's true that obesity raises the future for a lot of conditions, did he think the people at risk aren't trying? SMH
Smoking rates have plummeted in the US at least. People still smoke, but it's a lot less. That said, I am not saying shaming is the way to go in all things. Smoking isn't a deep, fundamental evolutionary drive in the way that food is. I think shame is a powerful motivator for myself. I have improved on a lot of things because I became ashamed at something I did wrong. ...BUT, maybe food addiction doesn't respond to shaming because of very different evolutionary pressures. If someone is ashamed, it absolutely could drive them to eat more. This ties into something I mention ebelow:

How does fat-shaming solve the very real problem of food deserts in many areas, especially urban, low-income areas, where obesity is usually most prevalent? The city I grew up in no longer has a single full-size grocery store anywhere within the city limits, for example. For many people without vehicles, corner stores or dollar stores are where they go, and they tend to not have a bunch of fresh fruits and vegetables. And that's not even a large city. Public transportation in this country is pretty abysmal and not everyone has $20 a shot for an Uber.
I think it was on NPR, but they showed how programs to give food desserts better produce didn't work at all. The thought is maybe that impoverished, STRESSED OUT people just crave calorie dense food. I think better social programs in general, and better general healthcare (including medical) helps put people in a better peace of mind to do things like eating right and exercising. I agree with others here that it's usually not about knowing that you SHOULD eat right and exercise, it's about being in a good head space to do those things.
 

Ava Glasgow

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One of my treatments is certain probiotics, something I'd taken sporadically in the past for other reasons and only later realized they were probably the cause of a couple episodes of mysterious substantial weight loss without dieting. I've been reading a lot of scientific literature about the connection between gut microbiota (the bacteria in your intestines) and obesity, affecting energy absorption as well as the host's appetite through metabolic hormones. It also mediates inflammation, which appears to be the root cause of insulin resistance (which causes increased insulin levels, which leads to excessive fat deposition).

I was happy to see the NYT has an article this morning about it, though it focuses on FMT (fecal microbiota transplant) as a treatment rather than probiotic supplements.



Of course there's also statements that "experts say" that of course you still have to exercise and eat right, because it always has to be the person's fault. All I can say is that (a) that's not my experience, and (b) the research to date strongly suggests improving gut microbiota can prevent/treat obesity without changing caloric intake or activity levels.
 

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One of my treatments is certain probiotics, something I'd taken sporadically in the past for other reasons and only later realized they were probably the cause of a couple episodes of mysterious substantial weight loss without dieting. I've been reading a lot of scientific literature about the connection between gut microbiota (the bacteria in your intestines) and obesity, affecting energy absorption as well as the host's appetite through metabolic hormones. It also mediates inflammation, which appears to be the root cause of insulin resistance (which causes increased insulin levels, which leads to excessive fat deposition).

I was happy to see the NYT has an article this morning about it, though it focuses on FMT (fecal microbiota transplant) as a treatment rather than probiotic supplements.



Of course there's also statements that "experts say" that of course you still have to exercise and eat right, because it always has to be the person's fault. All I can say is that (a) that's not my experience, and (b) the research to date strongly suggests improving gut microbiota can prevent/treat obesity without changing caloric intake or activity levels.
I briefly dated a genetics Ph.D student who told me that probiotic supplements and foods are utterly worthless. they get destroyed by your digestive system. It has to either be up your butt, or put in special time release capsules that will open up when in the intestine. This was directly relevant to her research btw.
 

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I briefly dated a genetics Ph.D student who told me that probiotic supplements and foods are utterly worthless. they get destroyed by your digestive system. It has to either be up your butt, or put in special time release capsules that will open up when in the intestine. This was directly relevant to her research btw.

That's not what the research says. Certain bacterial strains do just fine in the acidic stomach environment and are active throughout the digestive system. There are also studies showing anti-obesity and other positive health effects from taking specific strains orally.

I haven't seen (wasn't looking for) anything comparing the effectiveness of oral vs. rectal administration for metabolic-related probiotic treatment, so I don't know about that. But my medical history clearly shows that I had episodes of weight loss and improved blood pressure, blood glucose, and lipids that corresponded with the times I was taking a particular probiotic, even though I didn't know the probiotic could do that.
 
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GoblinCampFollower

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That's not what the research says. Certain bacterial strains do just fine in the acidic stomach environment and are active throughout the digestive system. There are also studies showing anti-obesity and other positive health effects from taking specific strains orally.

I haven't seen (wasn't looking for) anything comparing the effectiveness of oral vs. rectal administration for metabolic-related probiotic treatment, so I don't know about that. But my medical history clearly shows that I had episodes of weight loss and improved blood pressure, blood glucose, and lipids that corresponded with the times I was taking a particular probiotic, even though I didn't know the probiotic could do that.
She may have been talking about the specific research she was doing. I'm certain it's much more effective if you bypass the gut for general purposes, especially if you need to totally redo someone's system, which may have been her research. ...look, it was over wine and some time ago, I don't fucking know! lol.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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Smoking rates have plummeted in the US at least. People still smoke, but it's a lot less.
There are lots of reasons why my last decision to give up smoking (taken in September 2012, as I recall) was successful when all my previous attempts had failed, but I think they come down to the fact that at last I'd decided I really wanted to give up smoking -- primarily because of both the expense and the fact I hated being dependent on cigarettes, and in particular having to think "Can I settle down for the evening or do I need to go and buy another packet to see me through until tomorrow morning?" -- rather than feeling I really ought to give up because people thought I should.

Shame certainly didn't come into it -- any attempt to make me do something I don't want to is likely to have the opposite effect, unless it's backed up with either legal authority or superior force, and I suspect I'm not alone in that.
 

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Smoking rates have plummeted in the US at least. People still smoke, but it's a lot less. That said, I am not saying shaming is the way to go in all things. Smoking isn't a deep, fundamental evolutionary drive in the way that food is. I think shame is a powerful motivator for myself. I have improved on a lot of things because I became ashamed at something I did wrong. ...BUT, maybe food addiction doesn't respond to shaming because of very different evolutionary pressures. If someone is ashamed, it absolutely could drive them to eat more. This ties into something I mention ebelow:



I think it was on NPR, but they showed how programs to give food desserts better produce didn't work at all. The thought is maybe that impoverished, STRESSED OUT people just crave calorie dense food. I think better social programs in general, and better general healthcare (including medical) helps put people in a better peace of mind to do things like eating right and exercising. I agree with others here that it's usually not about knowing that you SHOULD eat right and exercise, it's about being in a good head space to do those things.
Eating isn't the only cause of obesity, though. Endocrine problems, especially undiagnosed, can be responsible for significant weight gain or loss. And in the case of that kind of weight gain, it can be particularly hard to lose the weight. So shaming wouldn't help there at all.