Friday 14 May 2010

A Glimpse Into The Mindset Of CiF Commenters...

Abdulrahman El-Sayed (a medical student at the University of Michigan, whose biog states that he ‘considers health inequalities, minority political engagement, and sociopolitical dynamics’) is looking at obesity and finding ways to excuse those who suffer from it.
What does poverty look like in Britain? An emaciated young child, perhaps? Not exactly. Studies about the predictors of obesity in the UK have shown that the poorest are most likely to be obese.
Oh, here we go...
Vexingly, research about the causes of obesity in high-income countries has shown that more deprived areas tend to have fewer outlets offering healthy foods. What's worse, a basket of healthy food would cost more in a poor part of east London, for example, than it would in somewhere like Fulham. In this way, deprived areas in developed countries, termed "food deserts" in the academic literature about obesity, fundamentally limit the food choices that poor people can make, thereby promoting unhealthy lifestyles, and ultimately, obesity.
It's not their fault! It's the capitalists, innit?
Another issue is what is termed "food insecurity", or lack of regular, dependable access to food. This can also promote obesity. Imagine that you didn't know where your next meal would come from, and you had a large meal in front of you at the time: what would you do? I would eat the whole thing (probably more than my fill), so that if, in fact, I didn't get a meal later, I would have eaten enough for the day.

Now, what if the next meal did come (again, in the same setting of insecurity about where the next meal would come from)? A cycle of insecurity-based overconsumption can set in, ultimately leading to obesity.
So, where's this sudden feast/famine coming from? Is it synchronised with their giro cheques, or something?
…conceptions of obesity typically fail to reflect the structural determinants of the condition: rather, we consider obesity as the accumulation of bad choices that individuals make at the dinner table or at snack time – too many biscuits and not enough exercise – without regard for the structures that influence the choices available to begin with.
Yes, no-one ever makes bad choices in CiF-land. It's always other people...
Aside from disproportionate ridicule and shame (which have been shown to negatively affect mental health among obese children and adults), society's misunderstanding of the causes of obesity has substantiated calls to directly tax obese people, or to charge them differentially for product usage – as a recently publicised Ryanair scheme proposes to tax obese passengers.

If obesity can be so heavily influenced by factors outside the individual's control and, more importantly, by markers of poverty, than these calls represent a concealed form of discrimination against the poor.
OK, Abdulrahman is just another rent-seeker looking to score a fat (heh!) salary doing 'research' into the sociological factors of obesity for some quango.

But there are scarier fish out there in the waters of CiF, and one swims into view, attracted by the scent of blood power:

CaptCrash comments at 9:47AM:

I appreciate that some are happy and slim and intelligent, but some on poor incomes are unhappy, munching away on crisps, and far from well educated or self interested in their health.

This might not be the case if

a) they were given the right info and
b) had to pay more for the sh*t.

but further more there needs to be a "happyness" streak through society.

If you are poor, the chances are you will ever achive much more than creaping up the greasy pole of societal status, indeed high rents, lack of decent social housing, and decent promoted community facilities, means that many peoples lives become nothing more than a miserable drudge with no hope of further achievement.

Indeed such a mental attitude is contagious in families, resulting in drug and alcohol abuse, long term unemployment, and a general feeling of uselessness.

But it's the rest of us who refuse to improve the lot of common people due to "cost" or "profit", and fail to give them the opportunity and worth they deserve, (as we offshore any prospects that used to have in manufacturing).

Meanwhile the intelligensia's short termism, results in the additional health burdens on the NHS.
There you have it. There are people out there who believe that it's their role in life to 'improve the lot of the common people'.

Sod the fatties, say I; let's hunt down these people instead. They are going to cost us far, far more in the long run.


Bucko said...

What a load of rubbish. Poor people are fat whaps because they are institutionally lazy. The government pays them to stay at home all day slobbing on their fat areses and drinking their stella. They easily develope the same attitude to food. Cant be arsed to work? cant be arsed to cook either, off the the chippy or kebab shop every day.

Quiet_Man said...

I wonder how he manages to correlate his obesity stats against the fact of 13 years of Labour rule and still blame capitalism.
I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that many on the left are intellectually challenged or blinkered, it like they've had a common sense bypass and can't see things the way they really are.

Chuckles said...

After thirteen years of it, we know exactly what poverty looks like in Britain. A poverty of everything.
It looks like a Labour Government.

And, yes indeed, let the hunting begin.

RantinRab said...

The next person that declares that we have 'poor' people in the UK is going to get a kick in the nuts/fud.

There are NO poor people in this country. Only people who make the wrong choices. Fuck 'em.

David Gillies said...

I went on a miracle diet, lost 20 kg and 15cm off my waistline. But I'll let you in on how I did it...

I ate less and exercised more.

Ta da!

English Viking said...

If fat people spent less money on chips ands pies, they wouldn't be poor or fat.

Simple, really.

JuliaM said...

@Bucko: Indeed. No one ever seems to want to look at the obvious anymore...

@QuietMan:Some undoubtedly are, but I really don't think they all believe the rubbish they spout by far...

@DavidGillies: That always seems to upset the commenters whenever a CiF column on obesity comes up. It's like they don't want to believe it could be true, for some reason.