Food activists spend plenty of time dismissing their opponents as “enemies of public health.” But as we often argue, those claiming to be messengers of the health gods aren’t creating a healthy environment at all. By constantly stigmatizing weight gain, for example, obesity hysteria creates an unhealthy attitude towards eating.
Twenty-year-old Kirsten Haglund understands this first hand. Her road to being crowned Miss America 2008 was not a smooth one. An obsession with weight loss led her to join the ranks of the 11 million Americans suffering from an eating disorder. The Tampa Tribune reports:
The nation’s fight against childhood obesity, with its emphasis on losing weight, is having an unintended influence on people with eating disorders, Haglund said.
"There’s an entire generation of kids growing up with a fear of fat. Kids don’t need to be afraid of food."
The legendary chef Julia Child had a cure for this: Enjoy eating more, and worry about it less. “What’s dangerous and discouraging about this era,” Child said almost thirty years ago, “is that people really are afraid of their food.” She was always a creature of common sense — exactly what’s missing from today’s contentious food debates.