S1E2: Should There be a War on Obesity?

*Disclaimer: We will be using the terms “overweight” and “obese” for this episode, because they are the medical terms currently being used. Therefore they have specific definitions. We find them offensive when used to describe people and will normally use the terms larger/smaller bodied, or fat/thin throughout the podcast.

*We unfortunately had technical difficulties with this episode, and we have published a re-edited version. Thank you so much for your patience while we are learning!*


The “War on Obesity” has been raging for decades. Just like many similar wars, such as drugs and terrorism, it has a very nebulous enemy and never really has an end. These types of “wars” rarely accomplish their stated objective. This war is attacking ordinary, law-abiding citizens who happen to be traveling around in bodies that are larger than whatever society has deemed “appropriate”. From babies to the elderly, no one who is fat is truly safe from this war, nor are those who fear becoming fat.

In This Week’s Episode:

  • The history of the Body Mass Index

  • Questions about the process that lowered BMI standards by the NIH in 1998

  • There are many determinants of health and weight is a small component.

  • Risks of pursuing weight loss to increase health

  • Dangers of assuming thin people are healthy

  • Dangers of assuming larger people are unhealthy

  • Inability to eradicate fatness from a population

  • Compassionate care providers not recognizing the damage caused by fighting “obesity”

“How would we ever get on board with prescribing for fat people what we diagnose as eating disordered in thing people?
— Deb Burgard, Food Psych Podcast, Episode #117