I don’t generally post so quickly in succession but I just got forwarded this link one too many times.
Book Offers Novel Approach to Weight Loss
Here’s the thing: SLIGHTLY more likely is a pretty meaningless result when you are looking at one very small study over such a short period of time.
“The book helped,” she said. “It either helped them stay at the same weight while they were growing or even helped them lose their weight.”
Or, shocker of all shockers, they identified with the fat character because they have been berated, even at ages 9-13, for being fat and understand the struggle to lose weight that the character experienced. Because they have experienced it themselves. There is no indication that the girls who read the book that was not about weight loss and the girls who didn’t read a book at all gained weight. Only that tiny percentage point measuring 33 girls who are at a stage of life when weight is an unstable thing anyway.
Oh, they are grasping at straws with this one, people. Tiny little fragments of straws.
Also, I find it particularly disgusting the way the researcher, like so many other people, assign ownership of excess weight.
“It either helped them stay at the same weight while they were growing or even helped them lose their weight.” – emphasis mine
Our bodies belong to us in all of our mass and gravitas. In another context, the assigning of ownership might not seem so gross. But this just seems like another case of “that is THEIR problem, it will not happen to me; THEIR weight is the issue, my weight is fine.”
And, one more quote:
Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University School of Medicine Prevention Research Center, said embedding weight-management messages in a book is a “very promising idea,” but more research is needed.
“Could a cottage industry sprout up in publishing for novels that are ostensibly about some diverting plot, but really about eating well, being active, or losing weight?” he asked. “It’s too soon to tell. We don’t know how strongly, consistently, or enduringly such books might contribute to weight loss and control, or other health benefits.”
While I appreciate the doctor’s acknowledgement that we really have no idea how books modeling weight loss will impact young female readers (or anyone else for that matter) in the long run, he’s missing a larger point. Fiction that is written in order to preach a certain course of action rarely succeeds. It winds up formulaic and awful. If a writer isn’t telling a story that they believe in – that contains truth in all the fiction – the story will fail. It becomes propaganda.
You can convince some people with propaganda. History has proven it. But history also tends to judge propaganda pretty harshly.
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