Monday, June 9, 2008

The Business of Scare Tactics

Sandy at Junkfood Science posted an interesting entry recently about how doctors and the media target fat women of childbearing age for scare tactics. She deconstructs several of the most recent studies to see what they really found.

Several years ago I wrote an article about plus-size pregnancy for Without Measure, an e-zine for the International Size Acceptance Organization. Here is an excerpt:

The Business of Scare Tactics

Many websites with information about pregnancy at larger sizes are actually supported by weight loss surgeons or diet companies, hardly objective parties. They recognize that many of their clients are women of childbearing age who have been told that they "must" lose weight before they have children. They know this a market ripe for the picking and that their best sales tactic is fear.

So these websites publish distorted risk summaries, highlight only the studies that show the worst outcomes, imply that complications are inevitable for most fat women, and tell worst-case scenario stories as if they were everyday events. Some authors even suggest that obesity during pregnancy is akin to child abuse.

It is a misperception that fat women must lose weight in order to have a baby. In reality, many women of size have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies without losing weight first. This is the underground truth that the Profiteers in the War On Fat don't want you to hear.