It won’t surprise practiced HAES defenders to hear that my presentation covered evidence belying the myths around “obesity=death” and other unsupported claims. I discussed confounders and the difference between association and causation. I reviewed CDC and NIH data that undercut the agencies own advisories on BMI. And I delved into the wash of corporate money that unavoidably seeps into common beliefs, research, academic publishing, and public policy decisions in the obesity field.
Dr. Foreyt reprised familiar lists of the “health detriments due to obesity.” His response to my challenges on the data consisted, essentially, of this: Everyone knows fat is bad for you. It’s a no-brainer. When confronted with data showing pursuit of weight loss to be ineffective, he again trotted out canards drawn from Popular Wisdom. Sure it’s difficult to maintain weight loss, yet it’s always better to keep trying, he insisted illogically, even if you regain it. (Say it with me:) It’s a no-brainer.
Seems he’s right: There is a decided “brainlessness” to the arguments for an international war on fat.
Most every objection to the Health at Every Size model (that it’s “giving up;” that never-mind-the-data-we-”know”-fat-is-bad-for-your-health, that obesity impedes an active lifestyle, etc.) relies on a paradigm that the HAES approach itself rejects. The HAES model has an answer, is an answer, to every one of these concerns, but you can’t pursue a HAES approach as long as your health model revolves around weight.”