Would You Rather Be Fat or Blind?

Apparently, shockingly, most people would rather be blind. “When you’re blind, people want to help you. No one wants to help you when you’re fat,” one respondent (of the 89% who’d lose their sight over slimness) explained.

More at Emily Bazelon’s review of Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss — and the Myths and Realities of Dieting.

5 comments on “Would You Rather Be Fat or Blind?
  • Good lord, who are they surveying? I would MUCH rather be fat. Maybe because I’ve BEEN fat, and it wasn’t all that bad! Besides, I know that most Americans are going to be fat, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary really.

    A friend of mine once said,”Everyone gets old and fat in America”. I found it strangely comforting.

  • Ben, and does this surprise you?

    Obesity affects a disproportionate number of women and ethnic minorities, who suffer enough discrimination not to have this extra burden (and no, I do not laugh at fat puns any more, since I spent last 4 years researching obesity related health policy in the UK and the US, and I have seen them all – from ‘childhood obesity being a growing problem’, to ‘VCs see jumbo profits in obesity’.)

    Obesity is probably the last standing bastion of moralistic judgement, often implied or assumed even in government policy. You would not imagine that a report on sexual health will have a title ‘Are they all slappers?’ when discussing STIs, but a government report on obesity in the UK has a chapter titled ‘Gluttony or sloth?’ But it sticks and nobody says anything.

    Maria says that it may not be a problem since obese numbers are growing in the US anyway. Well, even fat people discriminate against fat people because they do not see themselves or their friends as being fat. See:
    A sociologist at Harvard has recently called this the network effect in obesity..

    The search for a genetic causal pathway is above all because so many people are tired of the burden of guilt and anger and frustration. As a lead biochemistry researcher in obesity told me in my research interviews, genetics ‘sets people free’.

    Gina Kolata’s book follows Ellen Ruppel Shell’s excellent book The Hungry Gene. Of course thanks to my research, I have an enviable collection of all that you wanted to know about fat but were afraid to ask..

    PS: At the risk of sounding like a car sticker, my other blog is about Obesity.

    Links include those to my obesity reading list.

  • I found this insane, I guess it makes more sense when I realized it was formerly obese people.

    “When a researcher asked that question of a group of formerly obese people, 89 percent said they would prefer to lose their sight than their hard-won slimness.”

    Still crazy though, and when I polled my office, a good half of my coworkers would prefer being blind! Shocking to me.

  • Maria, I agree. I wouldn’t want to be blind. Can I assume that if I was fat that I’d have the ability to get skinny by working out and eating properly?

    I can get unfat but so far we can’t get unblind.

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