On May 5, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and several Congressional co-sponsors introduced the "Healthy Choices Act," a bill proposing a comprehensive national approach to addressing the country's obesity crisis.Well, that all sounds pretty good. Sounds like the ingredients to a national healthfulness* initiative, which would be better framing than an anti-obesity crusade. Especially if Congress isn't on an anti-obesity crusade, with a specific intent of targeting fat people for elimination.
The bill's many provisions include ones that would align federal food programs with existing governmental nutritional guidelines; make healthy foods affordable and accessible to children and adults most at risk, including rural and low-income urban areas; coordinate the federal response to addressing the obesity crisis (including realigning transportation policy to encourage healthier lifestyles); and provide children and adults with opportunities for physical activity, nutritional information and assessment tools.
Doctors would be provided with tools to diagnose and treat obesity, and funding would be provided to help researchers develop more effective prevention andOh. Well. So it sort of is about eliminating fat people, not just making sure people are healthy. Um—
One provision falling under the assessment area could raise some privacy concerns: It would require pediatricians to measure the body mass index, or BMI, of school-age children and note this in children's vaccination records.Aaaaaaaand you've lost me.
Now comes the part where I laugh with bitter contempt, yes?
Rick Wolford, chairman of the Grocery Manufacturers Association's board of directors and chairman, president and CEO of Del Monte Foods, issued a follow-up statement praising the bill's sponsors for creating "sensible, science-based legislation" with a framework that is "both simple and attainable."Yes.
The American Beverage Association (ABA) also issued a statement confirming its support of the bill.
Obesity Crisis!!!eleventy! legislation ghost-authored by lobbyists for the food and beverage industry. Perfect.
* Here, I use "healthfulness" not in juxtaposition to disability, but to the "fat axiomatically equals unhealthy" narrative. I recognize there is a potential, if unintended, marginalization of people with disabilities whenever health-related terminology is used and/or when health is centered as an ideal.
As someone who is both fat and disabled, I am keenly aware of this complicated intersection. I do think it's extremely important to counteract the "fat=unhealthy" narrative; I also think it's extremely important not to imply that healthfulness is superior to disability.
It's not easy to reconcile the two, but what I want to try to do in this space is recognize that the "health at every size" paradigm as it relates to weight isn't seeking to marginalize people with disabilities, but is seeking to counter a very dangerous narrative that reflexively equates fat with an inherent lack of health. At the same time, I want to recognize that it nonetheless has the potential to marginalize, and, to that end, will continue to address that issue, so that "health" (posited in juxtaposition to "fat/unhealthy") is never discussed here without an awareness of the implications for people with disabilities.