Stop the War on Obesity! Why I am against a War on Obesity

I am against war. I am against all wars, including a war on obesity.

“You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.”

Albert Einstein

I agree with Albert Einstein, if indeed he really did say that, because thanks to the Internet there are a lot of quotes by him, and other great people, that seem doubtful or can’t be confirmed.

Whether or not those are the words of Einstein, the truth of the statement cannot be emphasized enough. Wars solve nothing and hurt people. All wars, including the war on obesity.

The war on obesity doesn’t end obesity; it helps justify the attacks on overweight people. 

I recently wrote a blog endorsing cupcakes in school to celebrate children’s birthdays.

Those who want cupcakes out of schools have different ends in mind for doing so. Some want them gone because they want to end childhood obesity. Some want them gone because they don’t want kids to ever eat foods of dubious nutritional value. A few probably want them gone for both reasons.

I don’t believe an occasional sweet treat is a threat to good health or promotes obesity.

You don’t have to take my word for it even though I successfully raised 4 healthy daughters and despite a family history of obesity, none of them are even slightly overweight.

There are many studies published in peer reviewed scientific and medical journals that agree with me. Dr. Leann Birch is a leading researcher on the topic and has committed her life to studies to improve children’s health and nutrition.

My blog post got the attention of a local PhD who accused me of using “offensive language.” She said that my blog post was my “uninformed” opinion and exacerbates the bullying and fat shaming of obese children. The idea, she wrote, that children are not allowed to have cupcakes in school because some kids are obese, will make the thinner children, become bullies. They’ll attack their chubbier classmates for being the reason why there’s “no cupcakes allowed in school.”

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????That’s exactly why I hate the war on obesity.

It’s a war that isn’t being directed at the problem. Like all wars, it hurts people. Lots of people who are overweight have already endured both sneak attacks and full-on assaults by people who pretend they’re just soldiers in the war on obesity.

Rather than wage war on obesity, why don’t we teach people to be kinder? Indeed, why don’t we expect people to be kinder? We allow intolerance. Victims of bullies didn’t do anything to deserve poor treatment, nor should they have any responsibility to change themselves so bullying stops. A war on obesity, however promotes that kind of backwards thinking.

Rather than a war on obesity, why not stop judging people?

We can encourage living well by learning how to appreciate and care for our bodies. Let’s forget about punitive diet and exercise and embrace good food and joyful forms of physical activity for all bodies of all sizes and weights!

We must stop preparing to go to war against those who are obese!


Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.