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The obesity police

(article, Culinate staff)

The message is out there: Obesity isn't caused by a simple lack of willpower. It's far more complicated, combining such factors as access to affordable whole foods, income levels, kitchen know-how, and free time (to cook real meals, among other things) as well as dietary and exercise habits. 

But a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association reiterated, however delicately, the old argument that fat people are fat because they're lazy, and called for obese children to be removed, on occasion, from their families for their own safety.

The article, of course, has drawn a lot of parental ire and fear. Co-author David Ludwig, a well-known food-reform activist, has backpedaled, emphasizing that foster care should only be considered as a last resort, especially in an effort to avoid obesity surgery.

As the JAMA article noted, "State intervention would clearly not be desirable or practical, and probably not be legally justifiable, for most of the approximately 2 million children in the United States with a BMI at or beyond the 99th percentile."