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It’s a sad day when a one time respectable publication comes out with balderdash like that. “Scientific” American is now an oxymoron.

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In the Scientific American article, the authors do not claim the BMI is racist. Its a well reasoned essay on the history of white medical practitioners' racist attitudes toward Black women's bodies in which they claimed larger bodies were proof of a Black inferiority. The authors claim that those racist attitudes toward larger Black women continue to the present and mask how interrelated social factors impact black women's health. In this piece, Maratos-Flier et al are incorrect when they claim the Huffington Post article does not include commentary from medical scientists. Jennifer Gaudiani provides convincing commentary. She is an MD, Board Certified in Internal Medicine who completed an undergraduate degree at Harvard and medical school at Boston University School of Medicine, and her internal medicine residency and chief residency at Yale. She runs a clinic that treats eating disorders and explains that BMI can be used as a tool to diagnose health, but that some doctors use it in racist ways when they don't go beyond obesity to investigate the health of Black women. The title of the Huff Post piece was a poor choice. The BMI is not inherently racists - its a measurement number that is one indicator of health. Maratos-Flier et al miss the point that it is not the BMI scale that is being claimed as racist, but the way doctors do not go beyond the BMI in diagnosing the health of Black women that is racist.

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Higher BMI is correlated to worse health outcomes, sure, but that's not the interesting question. The real issue is whether all the "nudging", which is pretty much the only intervention we have, has made anyone skinnier or healthier. I think at some point we're going to realize that public health research has tended to focus on certain problems because they are easy (although not that easy, Brian Wansink couldn't even reach seemingly obvious conclusions about those fat Americans and their huge portions without committing research misconduct) and neglected harder ones -- like, say, infectious disease.

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Oh for christssake.

Yes, there’s discrimination against fat people (even by doctors), there are no laws against fat discrimination, some health studies are funded by the diet industry, and dieting is less than 5% effective against obesity.

But it’s nuts to categorize the BMI as racist. When journals such as Scientific American, sacrifice scientific principles by publishing unsubstantiated theory, it should be obvious that grievance studies-type thinking and critical-race politics get too much legitimacy.

Advocacy against fat discrimination (based on actual data) is one thing. But this is not that.

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Any comparison of Black compared to white is racist if it does not control for the vast differences in income and poverty. Poor whites have a very high BMI but they are a much smaller portion of the white population so these numbers do not show up until a variable controlling for poverty is used to make the comparison. Please be careful.

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Attacking BMI as racist is itself racist. Why would any researcher (even sociologists) want to disarm minority communities from recognizing and eradicating a key factor in morbidity and early death. Obesity is a major factor in Covid deaths, and a disproportionate number of those dying are blacks and latinos. Obesity may not be a complicating factor in all cases, but it is in enough here (and with other diseases) that you have to question the motivation of those seeking to recast a major medical problem as a cultural bias.

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Has absolutely everything in life become about race? That Huffington Post article is ludicrous, and it scares me that this is seen as science and not agitprop. The Left is losing its Center.

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