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Fly Swatter —

February 8, 2012
by

Yesterday, my stance against Strong4Life hit home in a bad way.

After I was banned from Strong4Life’s Facebook page for saying “Shame on you” (vulgar, I know), I began making comments from my personal Facebook page which is just for the people I know in real life. Part of me was concerned because every comment I made on Strong4Life would be broadcast to my family and friends, some of whom I knew would not exactly be sympathetic to my side.

The worst I feared was a confrontation at the next family gathering, where I would have to go full-on fat activist to get my point across. What I didn’t expect was for my sister-in-law to “like” Strong4Life’s comments and to begin commenting in support of Strong4Life.

I have tried to explain that we are not against public health campaigns that encourage families to eat healthier foods and get more exercise. We fully support that. What we are against is the exploitation of fat children and the use of shame and stigma to “shock” people into action.

Her response?

I may not agree with all of the angle this add campaign is taking but I applaud them for trying to wake Georgia up and make some change happen.

and

I am not defending their ads. As I said in a previous post I do not agree with all of their tactics they have used to get their point across. What I am for is the fact that they are trying to do something.

She then went on to explain how the ads are necessary to get parents to break the cycle of unhealthy lifestyles. As far as she is concerned, the blame lays squarely with the parents and if this campaign gets parents to do something about it, then this campaign has been fully justified.

[Ed. Note: I just received word that my sister-in-law has been receiving hate mail. Please do not do that. My public rebuking of her is enough. My only reason for mentioning our relation was to illustrate how shocked I was at the proximity of Strong4Life defenders, not to sic the dogs on her. So, please, don’t contact her. Thanks!]

I keep seeing a similar justification on Strong4Life’s Facebook page, where people say that the ad campaign may not be the best approach, but that they have to do something to get parents involved because parental involvement will solve this crisis.

First of all, I find these views reprehensible in the strangers I have been debating online. I have found myself wondering just what kind of monster would say that in this case the ends justify the means. Now I come to learn that someone who I had admired for her compassionate spirit is essentially saying, “Yeah, do whatever needs to be done to ‘fix’ the problem.”

But these kinds of justifications remind of the saying, “Don’t use a hammer to swat a fly on somebody’s head.”

On January 23, the American Heart Association issued a scientific statement titled “Evaluating Parents and Adult Caregivers as ‘Agents of Change’ for Treating Obese Children: Evidence for Parent Behavior Change Strategies and Research Gaps,” and what it has to say about the effect of parental influence on child’s weight is quite intriguing in light of this last-gasp defense of a dehumanizing campaign.

The statement explains the most successful core behavior change strategies for obese children, followed by a review of 12 studies that compared the effect that parents and adult caregivers (PACs) can have using these strategies. The studies took care to control for PAC involvement:

[W]e specifically sought studies in which competing treatment arms provided the same or a very similar behavioral intervention to families with the exception of parental involvement, which was determined via random assignment. We did not focus on studies in which the main comparison was a family-based treatment package versus no-treatment control or an educational control, or a comparison of active treatments that had similar parental involvement.

So, the meta-analysis looks strictly at the effect of parental involvement on the success of pediatric obesity treatments, which is what defenders of Strong4Life say is the justification for using such a harsh advertising campaign. The ads are designed to get parents attention because 75% of parents are clueless and the only way to put an end to childhood obesity is to get parents to take responsibility for their actions.

This AHA scientific statement measures exactly how much of an effect parental intervention will have on the success of childhood obesity interventions. So, how’d they do?

Only 2 (17%) of the 12 studies100,113 found significant short-term differences in child weight status outcomes among interventions that varied the degree or nature of parental involvement, and only 3 studies (ie, 25%) reported long-term differences. This provides limited support for the notion that greater parental involvement with their children in treatment leads to stronger outcomes.  [emphasis mine]

It’s funny how 3 out of 12 studies is spun into “limited support” for the notion that parental involvement is what is missing here. Later, the study expands upon this “limited support” notion:

In summary, results from randomized clinical trials provide mixed support for the notion that greater PAC involvement leads to better child weight control. The majority of studies did not report significantly better weight loss outcomes for children whose parents were more involved in treatment, a conclusion reached in certain prior reviews.

By “mixed support” they mean that three-fourths of the studies showed no correlation between PAC involvement and better outcomes. And, lest you blame the parents in the study for the failure, the scientific statement includes this gem:

An important caveat to these conclusions is that the studies generally were conducted with self-selected, highly motivated families who were willing to undergo intensive counseling. White families also have been overrepresented in these studies; future studies must examine a more diverse range of families. [emphasis mine]

Even when the people involved in the treatment are highly-motivated to seek intensive counseling, PAC-involvement made little difference in the success of the program. Of course, “success” has been defined as “better weight control,” and we already know the outcomes of weight control efforts, which are consistently disappointing for those who use weight as a proxy metric of health.

Other studies cited in the AHA’s statement indicate that parents who role model healthy behaviors account for just 25% of the variance in two-year weight loss outcomes. So, even when parents model healthy behaviors, 75% of the reasons for their weight loss has to do with something other than parental modeling.

So, if it isn’t apathy, if it isn’t poor modeling, that prevents kids from being “cured” of their obesity, then what is it? The AHA says, “That family history of obesity and genetics put certain children at greater risk than others for becoming obese is generally accepted.”

Genetics, eh? Go on…

Childhood obesity has a significant genetic component, as do several eating behaviors that may contribute to obesity onset. Examples include rapid eating rate, poorer recognition of internal satiety cues, greater responsiveness and eating in response to environmental cues, and a heightened tendency to eat in the absence of hunger when exposed to palatable foods. Genes also influence habitual physical activity levels. Indeed, genes also may influence children’s improvements in weight status in response to a family-based treatment.

The authors go on to suggest that awareness of these genetic influences might help parents.

Might knowing that one’s child has increased susceptibility to obesity enhance PAC motivation for behavior change? Or might this lead to a decreased sense of self-efficacy or hopelessness?

I find it odd that in a study which concludes that a group of highly-motivated PACs made little difference in obesity treatment would go on to suggest that more motivation is needed, as opposed to, say, looking at other ways of improving the health of children.

The authors do make one practical suggestion that I found intriguing.

There is evidence that bolstering peer support may enhance lifestyle interventions for childhood obesity, and this may be a novel component to address in future parenting interventions. [emphasis mine]

I’ve got news for you AHA, to say that the effects of stigmatization and public shaming by peers, or a multi-million dollar ad campaign, are bad for a child’s health, and that bolstering support for fat kids may help a child’s health is not a “novel component.”

The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity has been telling people for years that media portrayals of fat people, as well as the stigmatization of fat kids, are bad for our health.

Although Strong4Life and its defenders have cited the failure of parents to be the justification for waging a NINE MONTH War on Fat Children, the evidence that parents need a “wake-up call” is sorely lacking, according to one of the premier public health organizations in the country, the American Heart Association.

Aside from the genetic component, I would also urge people to learn more about the social determinants of health, which have a much bigger impact on the choices parents make in terms of nutrition and exercise. Childhood obesity is a complicated issue, and simply blaming parents and shaming kids will not produce the desired results. There is plenty of blame to go around.

In fact, the AHA study had one intriguing nugget to say about who’s at fault for childhood obesity.

You recall the infamous, unfounded 75% statistic (DAY 28 since we were promised the data from that study). Well, turns out, parents in Georgia aren’t the only ones in need of a wake-up call:

Another report of 87 primary care pediatricians and nurse practitioners found that only 26% knew the definition of childhood obesity and 9% knew of its prevalence.

You have GOT to be shitting me.

If the whole “raising awareness” thing is the main thrust of Strong4Life’s ad campaign, then maybe it’s time we start stigmatizing pediatricians and nurse practitioners:

If you want to send a message that there is no justification for stigmatizing fat children, then donate just ONE DOLLAR to our Solidarity Dollar campaign. We need just 174 people to unlock the More of Me to Love Match. Help us reach our goal today so we can get to work on creating a dynamic, positive campaign that will send a healthy message to ALL of Georgia’s children.

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43 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2012 12:59 pm

    Hey Dirk. You’re an asshole.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  2. pyctsi permalink
    February 8, 2012 1:01 pm

    Dirk perhaps you need to get a life and stop seeking out people you can harass for your own pleasure.

    Stop being an asshole and actually try reading this stuff.

    It is perfectly possible to be fit and healthy and I find your charge of child abuse rather disgusting.

    Try getting a clue before you comment or go away.

  3. February 8, 2012 1:03 pm

    Asshole.

  4. pyctsi permalink
    February 8, 2012 1:19 pm

    We don’t like the fact that you are deliberately seeking out people and rather than posting respectful comments that offer a different point of view you resort to insults and inflammatory comments which offers nothing.

    Your opinion is not unique and not clever. Do you also go looking for short people and mock them for being short.

    Assholes like you fucked up my life when I wasn’t fat until I felt so crap about myself I stopped exercising and ate for comfort and got fat, so I don’t really think you have a clue about anything you are talking about.

    • February 8, 2012 7:00 pm

      No shit–I had dicks like this calling me “fat” when I weighed a whole 130 pounds at a little over 5’6″ in height. Is it any wonder I was bulimic and went on extreme diets throughout my teens, twenties, and thirties? I wish I had gotten a clue when I was younger and told them to fuck right the hell off instead of hating and tormenting myself.
      I actually am fat at this point in my life, weighing around 300 pounds, and I find that blame and shame are far worse than being fat. Dirk and his ilk need to piss off and die.

  5. February 8, 2012 1:21 pm

    Dirk:

    Since you have the answers, perhaps you can answer this for me?

    I eat mostly organic fruits and vegetables, grain-fed and cage-free meats in recommended portion sizes. I rarely eat a white starch, whole grains are the way that we go in my home. My caloric count ranges between 1500 and 1800 calories per day, generally, according to my food tracker (which I actually use to track basic nutrients, but the caloric thing is part of it, so I see that every day too). I walk, swim, sword-fight (Western martial arts, not Eastern), ride bikes, use the weight machines at the gym, do yoga, and bust a move for about 30-60 minutes six days per week.

    I weigh 360 pounds and have hovered there for five years or so after having a gastric bypass and losing 140 pounds.

    So…what habits would you suggest that I change?

    Or would you PERHAPS consider that maybe it isn’t all about “calories in, calories out”, that there may be something more to it than a concept that overly simplistic?

    Based on your comment, I doubt that you will consider my point. I strongly suspect that you will turn around and call me a liar, stating that I eat more than that in secret, or that I don’t really exercise or that I don’t exercise hard enough. That is the usual response when someone who throws the “go on a diet and move more” card is confronted with someone who already does that and still is fat, but I thought that I would give you a chance to be unique, to be thoughtful and to actually consider that you may be *gasp* wrong and there is more to it than that.

    So…?

    What should I change?

  6. February 8, 2012 1:41 pm

    Dirk,

    Get the hell out of here. We’re tired (at least I’m tired) of debating idiots like you. Just get lost and preach your fat hate elsewhere, where idiots like yourself will be receptive to what you have to say.

  7. February 8, 2012 1:42 pm

    And this is why fat people don’t give a shit what you say, Dirk. No matter what we do or say, no matter how active or sedentary, no matter if we’re vegans or have spent a lifetime making “lifestyle changes” you, and the rest of the world, assumes we are lying. But guess what… nobody gives a shit if you believe us. If we decide to get healthy, then we do it for ourselves, not the appease assholes like you. Whether you believe Lys or not doesn’t matter.

    And as far as this “senseless attack on the health of young kids,” all I can say is jump up my butt, you clown.

    And I’m planting a second asshole flag on this comment. The sooner we’re rid of you, the better.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  8. February 8, 2012 2:09 pm

    Go fuck yourself, you self-righteous, sanctimonious prick.

  9. February 8, 2012 2:11 pm

    You are hating. You are assuming we are all worthless fat lumps who do nothing but sit there and eat junk, because if we’re fat, we can’t possibly exercise, right? Your comments reek of privilege, of never being mocked for your weight or your differences. That is being judgmental and hateful, and we don’t like it. We’re well within your rights to wish that you take your sanctimonious bullshit elsewhere.

    • February 8, 2012 2:11 pm

      Our rights, not your rights. Sorry, too annoyed to proofread.

  10. February 8, 2012 3:26 pm

    Ok, well, if we’re not that interesting…why are you here? Surely you knew ahead of time what we’re about and how profoundly uninteresting we are? Lots of other places to play, so…gule gule.

  11. Mulberry permalink
    February 8, 2012 5:10 pm

    So being in favor of a healthy lifestyle for fat children (good food, exercise, none of this shaming) is abusing them? Humpty Dumpty was one of the first, IIRC, to say that words meant what he wished them to, and I see he still has quite a lot of followers, including Dirk here. If encouraging a healthy lifestyle, as we do, is abuse, then let’s keep up the abuse! I’d rather keep the original meaning of abuse though, it has its uses.
    We have stopped the excuses. We’re not using the “calories in, calories out” excuse, or the “lack of willpower” excuse, and we’ve ditched a few others. We face the facts that others refuse to see, and you can find many of those in this blog. But you would be amazed to find out how many excuses people use to justify disliking us as a group. I often wish they’d take personal responsibility for their rationalizations, but you know how some people are – there’s just no talking to them.
    Getting on a diet for weight loss purposes is a really stupid idea for many of us, considering (yes, some of us do stop to consider the odds) that the most likely result is to eventually regain until you weigh more than you did when you started the diet. And when you do regain, a greater percentage of your weight will consist of fat.
    With apologies to other posters, Dirk could you stick around for a little while longer? I think your posts could motivate a few stragglers here to cough up their solidarity dollar and drop it in the pot over at gofundme.

  12. February 8, 2012 6:55 pm

    Hey Dirk, looks like you’re an A-S-S-H-O-L-E!
    Asshole, you’re an asshole, you’ve been an asshole all your life!
    I love Jimmy Buffet. Dirk, not so much.

  13. February 8, 2012 6:57 pm

    Regardless of your size, you are evidently a troll.

  14. February 8, 2012 7:02 pm

    Trolling, trolling, trolling…
    Go troll elsewhere.
    Like on the highway while playing with razor blades.

  15. February 8, 2012 7:13 pm

    Gaaaahhhhh! Where was I before I got distracted by the trollishness of Djerk?
    Shannon, I’m sorry you had to deal with this from your sister in law. What an uncomfortable situation. You know what I think would be a far more helpful campaign than targeting big kids and their parents? How about targeting the food industry and getting them to stop using factory farmed meat which is loaded with antibiotics and hormones and is thus unhealthy? How about getting them to stop using fruits and vegetables laden with pesticides, which are also unhealthy? How about getting them to stop using additives such as monosodium glutamate, which many people can’t tolerate and which are known to cause excess hunger? How about if they use real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup? According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, fructose actually is metabolized differently than glucose.
    If instead of attacking obese people the scientists were interested in finding out why the levels of obesity had apparently increased in the past 30 years (and it isn’t because people are suddenly stuffing their faces more) I’d be all for it.
    I actually eat less now than I did when I was half my current size. Granted, I am older. But the fact that I am not indeed chowing down on rich foods (or any other foods) constantly makes the fact that I am larger a mystery to me. I would be interested in finding out why this is the case–not in being told that tired old tale once again that I need to “eat less and exercise more.”

  16. February 9, 2012 12:53 am

    Seriously Shannon, when are you going to write that book? if I had the energy, I’d borrow your posts and do it myself. 😛

  17. vesta44 permalink
    February 9, 2012 12:58 am

    faycin – I’ve been wondering the same thing for years. Anytime a person goes on a diet and ends up gaining weight while on the diet – well, that tells me that there’s something wrong with the food supply somewhere. And telling people to eat organic fruits/vegetables and antibiotic/hormone free meats doesn’t do much good if you can’t afford meat/fruit/vegetables in the first place, let alone the organic/antibiotic, hormone free foods.
    Every time I dieted and started gaining weight, my doctors told me to cut back on the calories I was eating – if I started out at 1800, then I was to go to 1500, then 1200, then 900, then 600. And when I still didn’t lose weight and kept gaining, I was told I had to be lying, I couldn’t be following that strict caloric limit and still be gaining weight. I was told the same thing when I had my weight loss surgery and could only eat 1/2 cup of food at a time and ended up regaining all the weight I lost and then some) – I had to be lying about how much/what I ate, or I wouldn’t have gained the weight back.
    What’s an even bigger mystery is why I’m not still gaining weight – I’m eating exactly the same amounts of/same kinds of foods I was eating right after I had my WLS. You know, where I lost all that weight and then gained it all back and then some? But once I hit that weight where I was about 10% heavier than I was before WLS, I stopped gaining weight and I’ve maintained the same weight, within 10 lbs, for almost 13 years. If I was pigging out all the time, or eating fattening foods most of the time, I sure wouldn’t have been able to maintain my weight for that long. And what has really mystified every doctor I’ve seen in the last 35 years is how I can be DEATHFATZ and have normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar (even through 2 pregnancies), and normal cholesterol. They say it’s impossible, that I should be showing some signs of heart disease by now, or signs of diabetes, or hardening of the arteries, or something that’s going to make me drop dead any minute now. I just tell them that although I’m the size of a small horse, I’m also as healthy as one (for some reason, they don’t seem to find that amusing).
    I wish people would quit concentrating on weight as a proxy for health and instead tell everyone to eat as healthfully as they can afford to (and want to) and to exercise as joyfully as they want to and leave it at that. Health is not a moral imperative – I don’t owe it to anyone but myself to be healthy, and then only as healthy as I want to be/can afford to be. My health is no one’s business, and the health of anyone else is no one’s business either.

    • February 9, 2012 12:29 pm

      Amen to that!
      I try to buy organic meat and produce, but I can’t always afford it, so I do the best I can.
      A lot of the time these privileged individuals don’t get it. They think they can apply their terms of living to people who make nowhere near the money they do and then they don’t get why we can’t do what they say.

    • Smokin' Deist permalink
      February 11, 2012 2:30 pm

      Try watching Penn & Teller’s Bullshit! episode on organic foods as well as weight loss–those are a couple of pretty good episodes on the subject. Like how the organic growers do use pesticides, just some older and less safe ones than some of the modern ones as an example.

      You body tries to maintain a certain balance or level for many different things. The point you body tries to maintain at for each of these different things is known as a set point. Perhaps your metabolism’s current set point is what draws you to that weight. I’m not as deep into the medical/biology as my wife and I’m sure she’d have a better answer. Genetics are a factor and perhaps all the hormones in our food are one of the culprits. (I know I spoke somewhat negatively on organic foods, but that does not mean our mainstream food supply does not need some fixing.)

      I do agree that a healthy diet is important and that I do need to take my own advice in that matter. I have also learned that even moderate exercise is a big help–even without any noticeable weight loss. If you were doing some extensive exercise you should also consider that muscle is denser than fat and if you were ending up building some muscle and losing some volume of fat, your weight could still go up. BMI is pretty much junk science anyway.

  18. Viacra permalink
    February 9, 2012 9:28 am

    I must say, this has so far seemed like a very closed minded community. Dirk’s comments are contrary to your views, so therefore he gets hauled into the dirt. I’m a larger man, and I don’t agree with everything thats being said, but a constructive view point, albeit not your own, should be welcomed in a discussion, not met with the kind of responses seen here. Your campaign of lifestyle choice is in the public sphere, so when the public comes here to see what you have to say without any journalistic spin, they are met with remarks such as being told to play with razor blades on the highway. These are the true detrimental comments. Open a dialogue, make people see your point of view with reason, not petty name calling. Be better than the true assholes out there. I’ve dealt with my share, and the line here seems pretty blurry.

    • February 9, 2012 9:43 am

      What do you object to? I ask genuinely, because Dirk’s comments don’t come off as mere comments to me; they come off as concern trolling and they come off as beginning from biased viewpoints. Most people begin a discussion of weight loss by assuming that fat = unhealthy, and I see no evidence that says that Dirk is doing anything different. If people cling to that misguided assumption, opportunities for actual meaningful dialogue aren’t there.

      • February 9, 2012 10:36 am

        Just shut the fuck up, Dirk. You said, “looks like your sister likes kids a little better then you do. and she is not abusing helpless children to make herself feel better.” That’s an asshole comment if I’ve ever seen one. You’re not looking to have a discussion, you’re being a dick, and this is our community. Go be a dick elsewhere.

        Peace,
        Shannon

        • February 9, 2012 11:27 am

          Dirk,
          The internet is not the public square. The internet is made up of private communities who chose how to regulate their speech. We’re pretty fucking open, considering I haven’t deleted any of your comments (we’re one asshole tag short). This community welcomes debate, not dickweeds, so get over yourself.

          Peace,
          Shannon

    • vesta44 permalink
      February 9, 2012 9:50 am

      Viacra – when someone comes into our space and has a respectful dialogue with us, we treat them with respect. Tell me where the respect is when we’re told we’re “abusing helpless children to make herself feel better”, we’re taking part in a “senseless attack on the health of kids”, we don’t care about fat kids, etc? None of that is meant to open a conversation or debate – it’s all meant to belittle us and tell us how little we know about being fat and how it impacts our lives. It tells us that, even though some of us have been living fat for our entire lives (long and healthily, at that), that our experiences don’t matter, are an aberration, and have no meaning. Typical troll tactics, and our responses are exactly what trolls get and deserve – derision and scorn. So don’t come in here and tell us how to treat trolls or that we’re close-minded – I’d say you’re the one with the closed mind if you don’t recognize a troll when you see one. And Dirk’s viewpoint is anything but constructive.

    • February 9, 2012 10:35 am

      Viacra,
      Dirk is a troll. You don’t come onto a site, accuse people of child abuse and then get all bent out of shape when people call you an asshole. I got booted from Strong4Life’s page for saying “Shame on you” to them. At least here I leave it up to our readers to decide who is being an asshole. It’s not based on your opinions, it’s based on the way you deliver those opinions. Disagree, but don’t be a dickweed about it.

      Peace,
      Shannon

    • February 9, 2012 12:31 pm

      I did not care for Dirk’s sanctimonious attitude, and he directly attacked Shannon by saying that Shannon’s sister in law must care about the kids more than Shannon does. That was inexcusable.

  19. vesta44 permalink
    February 9, 2012 9:54 am

    Oh, and Viacra, being fat is NOT a “lifestyle” choice. Check your assumptions, please, and do some research before you make another bone-headed statement like that.

  20. Dmokin' Deist permalink
    February 9, 2012 11:48 am

    I see that some people need to go to school and try to learn a bit about weight and obesity. There are several factors involved in weight and there is no “magic cure.” Exercise is very good for you, but it may not help take off the weight. However, even modest exercise will have great benefits for you even if it does not help you become a twig.

  21. Smokin' Deist permalink
    February 9, 2012 11:49 am

    Oops, typo on my name. lol

    • February 9, 2012 12:04 pm

      You’re welcome at Fierce Fatties any time, regardless of your name. Great comment! 🙂

      Peace,
      Shannon

      • Smokin' Deist permalink
        February 11, 2012 2:13 pm

        It’s amazing what you can learn in school. I’d rather be fat and happy than thin and miserable anyway.

  22. vesta44 permalink
    February 9, 2012 12:05 pm

    This is the last tag to kick you, Dirk. I’m calling asshole on you too. Buh-bye!

    • February 9, 2012 12:13 pm

      I’m tired of the inevitable. Dirk just earned himself a big, fat permaban. You’re not in the company of Fat Bastard. Congratulations Dirk, now go away.

      Peace,
      Shannon

  23. Lillian permalink
    February 9, 2012 12:20 pm

    I think myself a member of this community. I’m fat by BMI standards, but not fat in the sense that someone walking down the street looking at me would consider me fat. Being fat isn’t a lifestyle choice. Dieting for weight loss or not dieting is a lifestyle choice. I find dieting for weight loss to be a waste of time and effort.

    Many people that are ‘overweight by BMI’ eat small portions, exercise regularly, etc. Society needs to stop seeing a fat person and make assumptions. Once someone is overweight no matter how they became such it’s impossible or close to impossible to change that situation.

    I take long walks several times a week. I eat mostly vegetables and grains. I consume very little processed food. It doesn’t matter how well I eat. Since people like Dirk would call me a liar and say that I must be stuffing my face with junk.

  24. Tom Anderson permalink
    February 9, 2012 5:54 pm

    Although Dirk is obviously just being mean, I agree with Viacra’s comment that for this to be a true discussion, “a constructive view point, albeit not your own, should be welcomed.” In other words, you have to be willing to talk with people who disagree with you. Not yell, but talk. On the other hand, you call people who dare disagree with your point of view “reprehensible,” and “monster;” this is hardly the kind of tone that encourages debate and participation by those with other viewpoints they hold as valid. Is it possible to see things differently.

    You criticize anyone not 100% on your side and 100% against Strong 4 Life, meaning that it is a “you are either for us, or against” attitude. This also does not encourage moderates of any kind.

    As far as your sister-in-law, if you respected her “compassionate spirit,” is it possible that she simply has a well-intended but different opinion than you? Is someone disagreeing with you grounds for being called reprehensible and monster? It *is* possible to agree with some of what Strong 4 Life is doing but not all of it; that is the stance I am taking and I certainly don’t see myself as some kind of monster just because my opinion is different that many of this page. However, if you take the stance that “Either you agree with what I say, or your opinion is not only different, it is reprehensible and you are morally less than I” (the implication of “monster”) that is no conversation that I, or any other rationally-thinking person, would want to entertain.

    Congrats on the BBC publicity; impressive.

    • Calantheliadon permalink
      February 9, 2012 10:08 pm

      I think the issue here is that it is a “constructive” viewpoint that is welcomed in this forum. Shannon, and others, have engaged in polite and informative discussion with a number of people in this thread.

      It is the TONE that the disagreement takes that marks a troll, not merely the fact that they disagree with the opinions professed here.

    • February 10, 2012 9:18 am

      Tom,
      I don’t have time for a full response now, but I am planning to respond at a later point. First of all, we do welcome dissent, just look at the number of comments that have respectfully disagreed and which I have responded to with equally respectful disagreement. But you have to understand that sites like ours draw trolls like flies to honey. People who come in calling us fat asses and telling us to stop eating aren’t looking for a dialogue, they are wanting to vent their frustration that we aren’t perpetually starving ourselves to an acceptable weight.

      I will comment on the “monster” part later, but I do not describe people who aren’t 100% on my side as monsters. I describe people who justify hurtful, shameful billboards aimed at children with claims of medical necessity as holding a reprehensible opinion. Anyone who says “the ends justifies the means” and uses that to permit the verbal abuse of children is exhibiting a monstrous opinion and is callously ignoring the long-term psychological damage posed by such a campaign. I will respond fully later.

      Peace,
      Shannon

      • Tom Anderson permalink
        February 11, 2012 7:14 pm

        Did she come out in support of the billboards? And did she actually say “the ends justifies the means?” Or just support some of the things that S4L is doing? I don’t support the billboards, but I do applaud that they are trying to do something (note: this is not an invitation for a 10 paragraph response; we’ve already talked about this; you disagree, and that is fine); and no, I don’t think the ends justifies the means. It just doesn’t sound like the words of a compassionate person. Given how you’ve manipulated data before, I wonder if you’re not manipulating people’s words, as well. For example, here’s a conversation you and I started on S4L’s FB page before:

        Shannon: “Yeah, what’s the big deal with eating disorders. I mean, it only kills approximately 10,000 adolescents each year and is the deadliest mental illness, but who cares if a few kids starve themselves.”
        Me: “Shannon, yeah, what’s the big deal with obesity? It only kills 300,000 people in the US every year. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/obesity/calltoaction/fact_consequences.htm.”
        Shannon: “You’re beginning to betray your ignorance on the subject. First of all, that figure is for obesity AND overweight. But, more importantly, those figures have been revised by the CDC. Now, obesity is correlated with 112,000 deaths, while overweight has a NEGATIVE mortality rate of 86,000, giving a net mortality rate of 26,000, which is the most accurate figure, and ones which the CDC now accepts: http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/r050615.htm
        Me: “Shannon, you’re beginning to betray your poor research skills and number manipulation. Your ‘most accurate figure’ that the CDC ‘now accepts’ are from 2005. The figures I quoted are from 2011; the 300k is for obesity. But the fact that you will stand by your claim by arguing that it is somehow not a bad thing that 112,000 obese people die from weight-related issues every year, because there is a “negative mortality rate” for overweight people? Are you kidding? 112,000 obese people still die every year because of weight-issues. That’s great the being overweight isn’t as bad as we thought, but you can’t simply subtract them.”

        • vesta44 permalink
          February 12, 2012 1:54 am

          Tom – The problem with deaths reported as being from obesity is that anyone who dies while being obese is reported as having died of “obesity” regardless of whether they actually died of any disease correlated to obesity (and correlation is not causation). A fat person who dies of a heart attack is listed as a casualty of obesity, but a thin person who dies of a heart attack isn’t listed as a casualty of marcidity (being thin). And the funny thing is, both the thin person and the fat person died of the same thing – a heart attack, caused by the same thing, heredity and poor nutrition/exercise habits. But it’s the fat person who is vilified for it and the thin person who gets a pass, because “everyone knows” that “thin = healthy” and “fat = unhealthy” so the fat person brought it on himself and the thin person, well, it was just bad luck. So, those 300,000 deaths a year from obesity that you’re talking about? How many of them are actually caused, scientifically proven to be caused, from being fat alone? I’m not talking about diseases correlated with being fat, I’m talking dying just from being fat?
          Because the picture the media paints of the “obesity epidemic” isn’t of people in the 25 to 35 BMI category, which is the majority of fat people – the picture the media paints is of people like me, with a BMI over 50, who are less than 1/2 of 1% of the fat population. It’s a scare tactic to make people who aren’t fat fear those of us who are so they will be willing for the government to employ drastic measures to turn fat people into thin people. Problem with that is there is no safe, permanent way to do so.

        • February 12, 2012 9:59 am

          Tom,
          I’m still royally swamped this weekend (son is here), but what is the source for your 300k figure? In research, newer doesn’t mean better.

          Peace,
          Shannon

          • Tom Anderson permalink
            February 12, 2012 3:02 pm

            My source is in there; the surgeon general’s webpage.

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