This is the most depressing fat panic intervention I've come across in a long time, it's so stupid and ill-conceived that I had to check the date and make sure that it wasn't April Fool's Day.
So this is it: The Centers for Disease Control in the US, the health promotion agency of the US government's United States Department of Health and Human Services, have released an online Obesity Cost Calculator to help employers calculate the cost of obesity on the company funds, and suggests the savings that would be gained by making employees lose weight.
This is so many shades of wrong I can barely begin to untangle it, I'm almost speechless. Luckily the Association of Size Diversity and Health have issued their own statement, which condemns the Calculator on the grounds that it is a licence to discriminate against fat people.
I will add that not only does the Calculator dehumanise fat people, it dehumanises all employees as BMI numbers, and it is likely to divide people from each other, which is a crappy way to run a business. It tries to quantify fatness in the most banal way, and it reeks of state-sanctioned pseudoscientific social engineering in a way that makes me wonder if anyone actually remembers what the Nazis did.
I propose a number of responses to this tool:
A nicely or nastily worded letter to the CDC saying exactly what you think of their Obesity Cost Calculator. Let them know what workplace harassment and discrimination is like for fat people and how their software is likely to encourage it.
If people have it in their power, they might think about saying no to company weighing and measuring programmes. Unless you are a wrestler or a jockey there is no reason why your employer should know how much you weigh. Don't allow them to harvest employee's weights, or to dignify Body Mass Index with use.
Research that exposes the costs, including the tax dollars, that have been spent on developing the CDC's LEAN Works! programme, the Calculator in particular.
Research that names the commercial weight loss companies allied with the CDC in developing and sponsoring their weight loss programmes, and a Calculator that estimates their potential profit increase should employers start to implement the Obesity Cost Calculator.
A Calculator that works out the cost of discrimination, stigma, scapegoating and junk science on fat people, and which further exposes the social cost in financial terms of weight obsession, weight loss interventions, weight cycling and the diminished physical and mental health they bring about in people of all sizes.
Research that estimates the financial and social contributions made by fat people.
In addition, I call for people to boycott any company found to be using this tool, and to let them and the CDC know why.
Document and share what you did and how you got on.
Ugh, ok, now back to Tuesday...
PS. Are there any hackers in the house?