Last Call: What if we’ve been wrong about weight loss all along?

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Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

A new way of looking at weight

There’s a fascinating article making the round in Huffington Post today, titled “Everything you know about obesity is wrong” by Michael Hobbes. It’s a long read, but a fascinating one, making the case that overweight people aren’t necessarily any more unhealthy than people who weigh less. Yes, we’ve heard that before. But Hobbes goes to show—via statistics and a number of heartrending personal stories from overweight people—how severely the odds remain stacked against them. For one thing, even as the number of larger Americans continues to rise, “the biases against them have become more severe. More than 40 percent of Americans classified as obese now say they experience stigma on a daily basis, a rate far higher than any other minority group.” Many of these people report horrible, demeaning treatment by their various medical professionals, as well as being bullied by their partners, failing to get promoted at work, etc. Hobbes’ article postulates that the stigma of being overweight is more damaging to people than being overweight is physically. Just a single read-through shifts your perception about diets (which really don’t work, according to Hobbes) and people of any size. So it’s definitely worth a re-read or two at the HuffPost today. [Gwen Ihnat]


On the border of China and North Korea

I’m fascinated by places I can never visit. North Korea is one such place—although 10 years ago, I almost did. When I was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune in 2008, I was sent to Beijing to cover the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. A reporter I met there told me that Americans actually could visit Pyongyang through this tour group called Koryo Tours, which has a working relationship with the North Korean government. The catch, though, is that I couldn’t reveal that I was a journalist. Was I willing to take the risk? The answer was no. So I’m left with books like this and documentaries like the one above, produced by ABC News. [Kevin Pang]

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.


Dr Emilio Lizardo

It isn’t always fat shaming. Despite the garbage you linked to, it is well accepted scientific fact that obese people have higher rates of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis, cancer, blood clots, and a few other things. It is absolutely appropriate for physicians to discuss it with patients and probably a serious oversight for them not to do so. Obesity is a new problem in roughly the last century, so blaming it on genetics is a copout at least to some extent.

Ccomparing fat shaming to the discrimination suffered by other minorities is the falseist of equivalencies. Losing weight is hard, probably harder than quitting smoking, but still vastly easier than not being black, female, or LGBTQ.