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News Coverage on the Manitoba Report

Yesterday, we discussed the content of a new report that the University of Manitoba has produced for the provincial government: ADULT OBESITY IN MANITOBA: Prevalence, Associations, & Outcomes.

The report reveals that fat people are not using significantly more health care than anyone else, and are not dying earlier either. This challenges pretty much all of the common wisdom about weight, health, and life expectancy and disproves the idea thin people's taxes and insurance premiums are disproportionately being used to treat fat people's health problems.

Now, I'm going to post some of the media coverage. It all starts here, with the original University of Manitoba Press Release: 25% of Manitobans are Obese.

The headline's interesting, eh?

...and here's some of the news coverage.

It's interesting to note that the emphasis on the percentage of fat people in Manitoba started with the University's press release. It's also interesting that many of the articles either don't focus on what I would consider to be the most important aspects of the report, and if they do, they feel the need to add in bad puns and/or weight loss advice.

Manitoba fats are not overusing medical resources or dropping like flies | There's an interview with Linda Bacon in More Magazine!

richie79's picture
October 25th, 2011 | Link | Now, I'm going to post some

Now, I'm going to post some of the media coverage. It all starts here, with the original University of Manitoba Press Release: 25% of Manitobans are Obese.

The headline's interesting, eh?

It certainly is, since the focus not on the positive findings but on 'scare statistics' calls into question a common protest by researchers that their studies are routinely misrepresented, 'sexed up' and their emphasis twisted by a populist media. Whilst media sensationalism and the effect of moral panic on the news agenda clearly plays a part in the tenor and dominance of fat-related press articles, the world of 'obesity research', inhabited as it now is by thousands of duplicate organisations all pushing the same line, seems to have become a mad scramble to grab the most lurid headlines, something which can seemingly only be accomplished through generating press releases and soundbite comments that fit with the prevailing narrative (if not always the findings of the research).

The reader responses, which where present seem predominantly along the lines of 'but everybody knows' dismissal and 'don't give the nasty fatties any more excuses to be fat!' are depressingly predictable. Ditto the emphasis on the assertion that 'obesity' (as distinct from the 'overweight' label) remains dangerous, the input of Dr Sharma and other representatives of the fat panic industry (and simultaneous absence of a FA perspective), and the blind acceptance of the accuracy and reliability of BMI as a measure. Kudos anyway to the Toronto Star for being the ONLY outlet to resist the temptation to include a headless fatty shot as a means of basically saying 'so fat people might not be more expensive, but you're still yucky to LOOK at'.

"What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right" - Albert Einstein

vesta44's picture
October 25th, 2011 | Link | It's that "But but but but

It's that "But but but but everybody knows" mentality that the people who issue press releases and the reporters who take those press releases and run with them have and that needs to be countered. I'm afraid that no amount of research to the contrary of "everybody knows" is ever going to change the minds of people who think fat people are disgusting to look at, no matter if we don't use "more than our share" of any type of resources, don't die earlier, and don't have the diseases we're reputed to have. Just the fact that they don't want to look at us is enough for them to want to eradicate us from the face of the earth, which says way more about them than it does about us.

WLS - Sorry, not my preferred way of dying. *glares at doctor recommending it*

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