I was going to post this as a comment to the last post, but I feel it needs its own thread here.
I'm so sick of hearing that "eating disorders affect a tiny percentage of the population, but obesity kills thousands."
There is ample evidence that obesity does not kill anywhere near the numbers originally released by the CDC. But that's not where I want to go with this today. Even if it were true, this attitude makes me sick. It's like saying, "Losing a few people to e.d.s is worth it, if the rest of the fatties shape up and lose weight."
As some of you know, my daughter almost died of anorexia, an eating disorder that has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness--up to 20%. It's true that diagnosed eating disorders affect only a small percentage of the population—but they are a very real and very significant problem. Especially if it's your child, your niece, your best friend's daughter.
The argument over whether fat is unhealthy or not is not merely an exercise in fat-bashing and prejudice. If it were, well, as someone said earlier, we could indulge in it until the amusement factor wore off and then be done with it. But there are real, heart-breaking consequences to this. And one is that we are now seeing an unbelievably rabid set of anti-fat messages directed at a vulnerable population: kids ages 8-15. Middle school is a time when just about every kid is horribly self-conscious about bodies to begin with. It's also the average age of onset for eating disorders--in the 13 to 15 range. I think we're going to see a rise in anorexia and bulimia as a direct consequence of this messaging. Anecdotally, I know of many families (including my own) whose eager-to-please children started trying to "eat healthy" in middle school and for a variety of reasons (including genetics) went too far and wound up with AN or BN. For those who are susceptible, this kind of pressure will certainly trigger eating disorders.
So this isn't an academic exercise. There is and will continue to be a very real fallout from the "just eat healthy" messaging. Children, families, and adults will suffer. If you've never really known someone with an eating disorder, let me say that you have NO IDEA how much that person suffers. And not just that person, but their family, and friends. Having anorexia is like living with a demon inside you that torments you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no vacation from e.d.s. They take over your life. You have no life outside them.
And too many of these sufferers will die. Yes, die from eating disorders. And these young women and men are not negligible. They're not collateral damage in (yet another) stupid, ill-advised, mismanaged war. They are our daughters and sons. And I say, enough.