From Across the Desk

Relaxing the rules for lockdown as the COVID epidemic has wound down has been very helpful to end the isolation of so many, particularly people with eating disorders. Isolation was one large negative result of the epidemic and is often credited in the sharp upswing in eating disorders cases. One positive result of this has been the emergence of nationwide efforts to develop programs to identify eating disorders earlier (see “Update”).

One issue that is unchanged is body weight bias, as author Sandra Wartsky points out (see “Changing Body Weight Bias: Things That Hurt and Help,” elsewhere in this issue). She points to three biases that have not shifted much at all: anti-elderly bias is slightly but not significantly lower, and biases about disability and body weight are unchanged. She notes that our diet-centered culture exalts thinness, vilifies bigger bodies, and normalizes many disordered eating behaviors, she notes. Thus, even if someone does not progress to a diagnosis of an eating disorder, “our fat-phobic society continues to show significant oppression, prejudice, and discrimination,” she writes.

While much of the current fat-phobic news may seem gloomy, there have been some positive steps: for example, researchers in Tennessee and Pennsylvania have developed new ways to reach out to those afraid of weight gain (see “Dealing with Fear of Weight Gain,” elsewhere in this issue).


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