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Health is more than heart disease

Chris Hoofnagle, professor of law in residence | November 14, 2009


The arguments in this thread seem to be missing some connective tissue. I’m skeptical of the implication that metabolic fitness means much in this context. Barbara Abrams seems to be reading the evidence in the most precise light: that normal metabolic markers, “would suggest no increased risk of heart disease.” (Emphasis added.) Even if this is the case, the other secondary effects of obesity are awful and expensive, and thus this condition should be avoided and fought through both personal and public policy interventions.

On an entirely separate note, it’s important to understand how this science gets used in the Washington DC public policy arena. For some time, my brother and I have been documenting “denialism” on Scienceblogs. We’ve paid particular attention to obesity denialism, a trend that has gained significant support with the entry of right-wing libertarian groups, no doubt funded by the junk food industry. These groups love to muddy the waters by arguing that there is an obesity myth and that the obese are healthy. These arguments can serve extremely reactionary political agendas, and in the end, lead to more obesity, because their ultimate political agenda is to protect the consumptive habits of Americans from the interventions that could make all of our lives healthier.