Based on unfounded theories or superstitions, physicians in the past often used remedies (like blood letting) which made patients worse instead of curing them. Today’s medical community, of course, typically uses treatments that have undergone rigorous testing. But activist groups are not held to the same standard. And when their alarmist claims, unfounded lawsuits, and extreme measures backfire, the repercussions are borne by the very people they claim to be interested in helping.
On Tuesday, several doctors, nutritionists, and family therapists told The Arizona Republic that hyping the alleged dangers of "bad" foods and constantly focusing on people’s weight are not without consequence: "[T]he nation’s campaign against childhood overweight and obesity is backfiring, starting kids on a lifetime of secret eating, yo-yo dieting, eating disorders and feelings of worthlessness."
The list of dubious prescriptions (from the usual suspects) include media-savvy politicians declaring war on obesity, school officials regulating bake sales and vending machines, and activists banning certain foods entirely. And — with her unapologetic public ridicule of any woman with curves — fat phobe MeMe Roth easily ranks as the poster chider for this movement.
A 2006 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that the most restrictive environments harbored the most overweight children. Dietician, therapist, and author Ellyn Satter explained: "All of this has made (children) weight- and food-preoccupied, desperate to eat and strongly prone to eat as much as they could, whenever they could."
Americans can find evidence of this fat-obessed environment in the "Food Porn" section of the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s newsletter or the labels that city councils from coast to coast are forcing restaurants to put on their menus.
Satter has a prescription for the weight gained due to this finger-wagging environment:
Just serve the food you want your family to eat and leave it at that … As dieters of every age know, a cookie denied is a cookie more intensely desired and more likely to lead to solitary excess as soon as that bagful tucked in the back of the cupboard is uncovered.