Don't judge the pudge

May 2, 2003

Did the poor boy pictured above David Weatherall's review of The Hungry Gene (Books, THES , April 25) give consent to being used to symbolise a "fat kid"? I wonder what kind of treatment he gets in school.

Deliberations about obesity often ignore the negative social effects on people who have been categorised as being obese. Social intolerance of fatness might even cause such people health problems when many live relatively healthy lives.

Obesity is a complex issue, and no single discipline in either the natural or social sciences has a definitive understanding. To build a more complete picture, we need more than apocalyptic laments so popular in much writing about fatness or, indeed, photographing innocent children and allowing them to be used as folk devils in this moral panic around "pudge".

Angela Kennedy
Middlesex University

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