The authors of a paper published last month have been criticised for suggesting that anorexia – a mental illness – could provide “insight” to those with obesity.
Titled Long-Term Weight Loss Maintenance in Obesity: Possible Insights From Anorexia Nervosa?, the article has been called fat-phobic by experts.
According to psychologist and eating disorder specialist, Louise Adams, “The authors are suggesting that fat people can learn a thing or two from anorexics.”
“Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses: it kills close to a quarter of sufferers. To suggest that this deadly disease could be good for fat people seriously highlights the enormity of our fat phobia,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
In Australia, 63.4% of adults are overweight. As the obesity rate has risen over the past decade, so, too, has fat shaming.
Writer and “real life fat person,” Ragen Chastain says The Biggest Loser is an example of our weight-bias culture.
“If a thin person says that they severely restrict calories and exercise for eight-plus hours a day, those are red flags for an eating disorder. If a fat person does the same thing, we put them on a TV, give them a trainer to ‘encourage’ them with mental and physical abuse and watch the ratings soar,” she wrote on Ravishly.
While there isn’t a simple solution to the obesity epidemic, it’s clear that anorexia isn’t the answer.
Adams suggests we support overweight people and those with eating disorders, “Let’s help support people of all shapes and sizes to look after themselves in healthy and sustainable ways.”