National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance

Luke Setzer's picture
Submitted by Luke Setzer on Sun, 2006-09-03 21:34

I have been reading a book called SHAM by Steve Salerno about the foibles of the self-help and actualization movement (SHAM).  He takes Dr. Phil McGraw to task for a number of questionable ethical decisions.

One involved his alleged trickery when he invited two overweight women on his show: "374-pound Sally Smith, editor of Big Beautiful Woman magazine, and 400-pound Maryanne Bodolay, executive administrator of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance" (NAAFA). The women thought he had invited them on his show to air their defense of obesity as a legitimate lifestyle choice. But through the work of Phil's producers behind the scenes, these women claim, the episode became "a freak show at their expense."

While I support the right of these women to practice their free speech, and would likewise criticize McGraw if he did mislead them, I have to ask a "bigger" question: Do their views have any scientific merit?

I did a Google search and found the Web sites for these two organizations. I really have to question the message these people want to spread. Tony Horton, my trusted video coach, noted at the Beachbody Miami camp I attended that while we need to accept the truth of where we are now, this does not necessarily mean accepting where we are now as "good." I also challenge the health claims at the NAAFA site that say, essentially, that being fat is not as bad as doctors claim.  It looks to me like an excuse factory rather than a legitimate challenge to medically accepted wellness standards.  Interestingly, the author of SHAM did not challenge these people as part of the victim mentality he slams throughout his book.

I thought this interesting enough to share here for discussion.  Here are the relevant links:

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