Talk:Health at every size

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Unrelated, but...[edit]

I feel bad for User:Scryer_360. They tried to revert the misinformation here, but they were stopped by Splainer. MarioSuperstar77 (talk) 23:12, 25 February 2021 (UTC)

@MarioSuperstar77 I do agree. I'm very, very happy to see that all the anti-scientic BS has been reverted by @Christopher. This version had been stable and consensual for years. One user then turned the article around without even taking it to the talkpage. @Scryer 360 was obviously referring to (Linda) Bacon, which another user incorrectly interpreted as a food-related joke that exposed Scryer's (non-existent) ill-will. In any case, this article certainly allows for, and, I think, warrants, expansion. UninspiringNickname (talk) 15:23, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
Yeah the article does warrant expansion. I did say I’d do it, maybe tomorrow was a little optimistic but I’ll get around to it at some point. Christopher (talk) 15:29, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
Haha, no worries! I won't set any deadlines for my contributions, but I'll definitely get round to it as well. Looking forward to your feedback (and possible cleaning up of my formatting errors, sorry in advance :/) Actually, I think this one article was my main reason for becoming active on the wiki again. This much anti-science was too much for mine wretched eyes :-( UninspiringNickname (talk) 16:04, 4 March 2021 (UTC)


Did you actually read the version you restored? The one that chooses to conveniently dismiss the substantial body of scientific research pointing to an array of genetic, epigenetic, environmental, and socioeconomic factors that effect human weight so that it can push an outdated, narrow understanding of obesity? The one with a grand total of 15 sources? The one that makes unnecessary fatphobic jokes? @QuietLuna and myself rolled up our sleeves after years of readers raising concerns about that version. The new version is well-sourced, up-to-date, and balanced. It has 86 sources. It stood for over a year before Christopher decided to unilaterally restore the version with 15 sources and fat jokes. Could the new version improved in certain regards? Sure. But the old version is indefensible garbage. Splainer (talk) 05:49, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

Yeah, @Christopher and @GeeJayK need to explain themselves. Oxyaena Harass 06:20, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
Just posted on your talkpage. I didn't revert because it was made by Christopher or whatever (I haven't even read the article yet), but because there's a place (called Talk:Health at every size) that we use before making large edits. GeeJayK (talk) 06:26, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
Last time I checked editing didn't require talk page attention. Christopher unilaterally reverted it, he should've discussed it on the talk page first. A balanced article with 86 sources versus an attack piece with 15 sources and fat jokes. Oxyaena Harass 06:28, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
Well, he did post here, even though maybe one can argue that it took him too long. As I said I didn't read the two versions, but I already don't like the quality of some of these sources (fucking imgur, come on). You're probably right about the other article not being very good (as I said, I didn't read it), but have you ever opened a book published by Regnery Publishing? They also have dozens of sources. 06:35, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Christopher made a bad call to revert all those edits. The version has not been "stable and consensual". For starters (aside from the bad jokes), the article used to be over-reliant on the "calories in - calories out" argument that is extremely reductionist and takes a way too centralizing approach on calories when the quality of those calories matter more as well as the price of those calories. As I said, 100 calories of soda is not the same as 100 calories of blueberrries. Yes you should count calories, but make those calories count too. And that's just part of the story, I didn't go into the price-calorie ratio; 100 calories of blueberries costs more than 100 calories of soda. It's also easier to drink 100 calories of soda compared to eating 100 calories of blueberries. See what I mean how "calories in calories out" is extremely unreliable? --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 06:39, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
I'd say that the biggest problem is that he said he was going to edit the older edit, that you guys say is bad, and he didn't. But the reversion per si wasn't a major problem since people supported him when he did it. GeeJayK (talk) 06:45, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
You never even read it, and the only people who bothered paying attention to it were a fatphobic and acephobic TERF and you. Oxyaena Harass 07:00, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
To whit: GeeKay points to an Imgur source as one of the problems with the updated version. But the one Imgur source is screenshot of a tweet there to establish something has actually been said...and it's a hangover from the old version. In other words, Imgur comprises 6.6% of the sources in the version GeeKay restored without (seemingly) reading. Splainer (talk) 07:08, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Oxyaena What the heck? I only saw it now. MarioSuperstar77 and UninspiringNickname were the ones that posted when Chris reverted the edit. I didn't even remember him doing this, maybe I saw, but I definitely didn't care. Also calling out people for what they said in unrelated events is irrelevant here, and you know it. GeeJayK (talk) 07:14, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

I did say “if anyone objects they can revert me”, per the standard policy of reverting to the more established revision in the event of an edit war, so I’ve reverted myself. I don’t see any fatphobia in the old revision, it’s not as long as the pro-HAES one but it’s better to have less content than to have a page promoting woo. Although this page in particular didn’t get much discussion, RW:Articles for deletion/Intuitive eating showed an overwhelming opposition to a very similar idea (both articles were written by QuietLuna). Someone mentioned @Mariosuperstar77 and @UninspiringNickname but I didn’t see any pings so I’ll do it. Christopher (talk) 09:55, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
*@MarioSuperstar77 Christopher (talk) 10:15, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
You unilaterally reverted a well-sourced, up-to-date, collaboratively-produced version that had stood for over a year in favor of a poorly-sourced, out-of-date, fatphobic mess. You didn't explain what issues you saw in the updated version that warranted this wholesale revert other than to flatly declare it "pro-pseudoscience" and "promoting woo." Do you believe the many studies showing links between certain genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors and an increased risk of obesity are all pseudoscientific or methodologically flawed? Because you're approaching this article as if those studies don't exist, and your understanding of the science is sole, unquestionable truth.
You haven't explained why the version that has 15 sources and three "citation needed"s and is written in a sneering, insulting tone is preferable to the version with 86 sources and a more neutral, encyclopedic tone. I don't claim that the updated version is perfect. It could certainly benefit from more input and polishing. But it's a vast improvement over the joke of an article it replaced.
And this is probably falling into the "show me the transphobic thing J. K. Rowling said" trap, but here are some of the most glaring examples of fatphobia from the version you restored:
"Health at every size (or HAES) is a pseudo-scientific concept peddled by certain fat activists which asserts — in complete opposition to current medical knowledge — that no kind of obesity is linked to poor health or unhealthiness. In most interpretations, HAES then goes on to claim that all kinds of obesity are completely natural and related to genetic causes (much in the same way all cancers and death from old age are), and in no way can be related to bad diet or (lack of) exercise; this leads to the assertion that if obesity is always a natural state of being then it's perfectly fine and not at all unhealthy. Other key canards are the assertion that the theory that obesity is caused by calories in exceeding calories out (and therefore the inverse, that weight loss is caused by calories out exceeding calories in) is not true, that diets do not work as a means of losing weight and/or often fail and therefore are not worth even trying, and that the medical profession are engaged in some sort of cover up of these facts to "fat shame" people for… some reason."
Dismisses out of hand the substantial body of scientific evidence pointing to genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors playing a role in obesity. Dismisses the studies showing diets often don't work and that the human body seems evolutionarily hardwired to thwart weight loss. Presents this narrow, outdated understanding of obesity as scientifically uncontested. Belittles the impact of fat-shaming (the phrase is in fucking scare-quotes) and insinuates that medical professionals can never be biased or wield their medical authority to the detriment of patients. People have died from ovarian cancer because doctors insisted their back pain was due to their weight and refused to screen them until it was too late.
"The present, and most common, interpretation ignores the bit about a healthful lifestyle and disregards the idea of aiming for weight loss, and instead assumes that people who are not actually dead or filled with tumours are perfectly healthy, even if they are morbidly obese due to eating unhealthy food while maintaining a sedentary lifestyle."
This is a blatant strawman. Most HAES supporters do not deny that being overweight carries health risks. They're trying to highlight that stigmatization and shame do not produce better health outcomes, and that "eat less, exercise more" more isn't a perfect, fail-proof, one-size-fits-all solution to obesity.
"Aside from the concept of obesity being genetic and therefore natural and therefore good being the naturalistic fallacy writ large, the notion of obesity having a mainly or wholly genetic cause is easily evidenced as total bollocks by obesity rates doubling in the years between 1980 and 2015 according to the WHO,[1] something which would be completely impossible if down to genetics (since it would require a dramatic change in the gene pool over the course of 35 years) but is easily explicable if one thinks about the massively increased prevalence, availability, consumption and lowered cost of high-carbohydrate and/or high-fat food, as well as its increased marketing to children and decreased levels of physical activity."
I don't know where to begin. This paragraph was evidently written by someone with little understanding of genetics and a total ignorance of the existence of epigenetics. It presents a single outdated interpretation of a specific data point (the increase in obesity rates between 1980 and 2015) as the only correct one. If there weren't genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors at play, then one would expect two people eating the same diet and getting the same amount of physical activity to generally be in the same weight range. That manifestly isn't the reality we live in.
"This concept is by no means scientifically supported, either as a means of healthy eating or one of weight loss, and can often be used as an excuse for binge eating — not to mention, some foods (especially starchy, high-carbohydrate ones such as potato chips and bread) are both high in calories and notoriously easy to eat large quantities of before one feels full, meaning that one's intuitive body signals might say things like "guzzle a whole tube of Pringles" — which is, suffice to say, not a particularly healthy attitude to take."
If you can't see the fatphobia in telling fat people they just need to stop "guzzling" entire cans of Pringles, well, I can't help you. Splainer (talk) 12:18, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
HAES means “healthy at any size”, if you don’t want people assuming you think being overweight isn’t unhealthy you should call yourself something else. We don’t want an encyclopaedic or neutral tone. As I said before, less content is better than bad content, and the idea that you can be healthy at any size is patently false. I think the pringles comment is fine, but if you want to reword it to be less offensive go ahead.
I’m sure there’s some stuff that can be rescued from the pro-HAES revision, you’re right that epigenetics needs to be mentioned, but we can’t have an article that promoted the idea that obesity isn’t unhealthy. Christopher (talk) 13:23, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
Please don’t start editing the article now though, wait for this to die down. Christopher (talk) 13:24, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
"Healthy at every size", for better or worse, is the name the movement chose for itself. Trying to read in a meaning that name wasn't intended to convey is engaging in unconstructive semantic quibbling. And, yes, I know RationalWiki isn't bound by NPOV principles like Wikipedia. That doesn't give users a license to use it as a platform for prejudiced and poorly-sourced nonsense. You haven't actually addressed any of the multiple points I raised, nor explained why the science pointing to complex factors influencing weight isn't to be trusted. You're just flatly asserting that you're right. And the fact that you see nothing wrong with a blatant fatphobic joke seriously calls into question whether you are approaching this topic in good faith. Splainer (talk) 13:45, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Maybe you recognise obesity is unhealthy, but a lot of people don’t, there’s a reason the movement is named what it is. The article brushes this all aside as being “a few extremists”, whilst promoting pseudoscientific bullshit like intuitive eating. I didn’t address your other points because I agree with them, a section about how “calories in, calories out” is an oversimplification due to varying metabolisms is definitely needed. Christopher (talk) 13:56, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

Why didn't you modify the coverage of intuitive eating in this article to address your concerns? Or at least propose changes? None of the concerns you've raised justify the wholesale reversion of a well-sourced article that had stood for over a year to a poorly-sourced and juvenile screed. Splainer (talk) 14:25, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
Repeating things you’ve already said (“stood for over a year” etc) doesn’t help anyone. I know it stood for over a year, which is why I reverted myself the second I saw there was controversy. Christopher (talk) 14:35, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
Repeatedly stating that a well-sourced article is "pro-pseudoscience" and "promoting woo" because you don't like what it says doesn't make your interpretation correct. Splainer (talk) 14:48, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
You also still haven't explained why you didn't at least propose amendments to address your concerns instead of exhuming an ancient version of the article. Splainer (talk) 14:52, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
The article says a lot of true things and cites them well, none of them justify the pro-HAES POV. Christopher (talk) 15:03, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
I'm not seeing a "pro-HAES POV" in this article. I'm seeing a nuanced overview of the current scientific understanding of obesity. If I'm being honest, I do think the later sections could benefit from further polishing. I'm not fond of the heavy reliance on quotations. Do you have any suggestions for edits to the article as it currently reads? Your perception of a "pro-HAES POV" is absolutely not a justification for digging up a poorly-sourced fatphobic rant. Splainer (talk) 15:35, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
There’s pro-HAES and anti-HAES content in the article, which isn’t a good thing, despite appearing more “nuanced”. The anti-HAES stuff is mostly confined to a bit in the lede and part of the “issues” section at the end. Christopher (talk)|
I find it curious that you've switched to criticizing perceived "POV" in this article when you earlier pointed out that RW isn't Wikipedia and thus isn't bound by principles of NPOV. There is no reason in theory that this article can't present a "pro-HAES" perspective if that position is sufficiently backed by reliable sources. I never wanted this article to be "pro-HAES." I just wanted it to not be a mean-spirited and poorly-sourced rant. But it's technically not against RW policy for articles to have a POV. You seem to only take exception to POVs you personally disagree with. In any case, the goal of this article shouldn't be to present "pro-HAES" or "anti-HAES" arguments, but to present an overview of the current scientific understanding. Splainer (talk) 16:16, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
Can you please stop posting above my comments? You're making this page even more convoluted. As for the "current scientific understanding", I doubt it's anywhere near "pro-HAES". GeeJayK (talk) 16:23, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
My issue with the article is that it presents an incorrect POV, why would I have an issue with articles that have a correct POV? Christopher (talk) 16:26, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
And there we have it. Your objections can be boiled down to "I don't like it." It has nothing to do with the reliability of the science in question. Splainer (talk) 16:32, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
Everyone’s opinions on this boil down to liking one version more than the other, assuming bad faith gets no one anywhere. Christopher (talk) 16:42, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
You've already stated you saw nothing wrong with a cheap fat-shaming potshot in the version you restored. Forgive me if that's negatively impacted my ability to assume good faith in this discussion. Splainer (talk) 16:50, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── As I've said before, Regnery Publishing books have tons of sources and are usually written by people with substantial knowledge of their specific subject, but that doesn't make most of them realiable. HAES is still a fringe idea, I don't think the scientific consensus shifted as you suggested. GeeJayK (talk) 15:46, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

Also, since RW focus on current relevance more than Wikipedia I believe that a section about Covid-19 should be added. GeeJayK (talk) 14:19, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
What’s definitely warranted is mention of the Association for Size Diversity and Health, which is missing from both versions despite having the term trademarked. Although I’m not too familiar with them, from what I did see they were utterly insane. Christopher (talk) 14:24, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
That's a huge false equivalence. Are you suggesting that all of the scientific research cited in this article is unreliable? Because criticizing bad science should definitely fall within RW's purview (for example, ROGD), but there needs to be more evidence establishing that those studies are flawed than another user's personal insistence. Splainer (talk) 16:26, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
Who are you replying to? Christopher (talk) 16:30, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
GeeJayK's comment mentioning Regnery Publishing. Splainer (talk) 16:35, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
I'm not saying that the scientific research cited in this article is unreliable, what I'm saying that HAES is a fringe idea and the scientific consensus is critical of it. I mentioned Regnery Publishing because they also use reliable sources to back their original synthesis, but their ideas are still fringe. GeeJayK (talk) 16:50, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
One of the other topic areas I've edited is dispelling TERF myths. I know what Regnery Publishing is. You are drawing a false equivalence. Splainer (talk) 16:59, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

[EC]No one can be expected to pick apart every source in the article, but some easy ones to criticise are citation 42 (dead link), 27 (buzzfeed listicle), 5 (post on tumblr blog named “this is thin privilege”), and 77 (personal anecdote on a website I’ve never heard of). Christopher (talk) 17:00, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

You can see here my opinion about Regnery Publishing and their transphobia, Splainter. Again, posting a bunch of studies is easy, claiming that the paradigm has shifted... Not that much. GeeJayK (talk) 17:05, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
5: The Tumblr link is citing an idea that's been expressed. It doesn't claim to support anything beyond that said idea exists.
27. Not a "BuzzFeed listicle" but a collection of interviews with 13 dieticians on why they oppose a "diet-first" approach to health. I agree that citing primary research would be preferable here, but it's not unreasonable to characterize dieticians as "experts" on dieting.
42. Dead link =/= invalid source. Find a replacement or an archive link. Although I somewhat agree that citing the original papers would be preferable to citing a factsheet summarizing them. But this was most likely done for brevity or convenience (citing one source vs six or seven).
77: This is an article in a peer-reviewed journal. Taylor & Francis are the one of leading publishers of academic book and journals in the world.
And it's "Splainer," GeeJayK. Splainer (talk) 17:39, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
You’re right about 5, my bad.
27: It’s a buzzfeed listicle. I have no reason to believe that these people are qualified and even if they were they’re definitely cherry-picked.
42: Dead link = invalid source. I could technically replace it as I can edit mod-locked pages, but I’m not meant to. It needed mentioning, there may be others.
You’re right, my description of citation 77 makes no sense. I meant 75, no idea how I got them mixed up. Christopher (talk) 18:02, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
76: link about specific piece of research, should be a direct link. Christopher (talk) 18:08, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
54: Similar problem, this time it’s Vox. Christopher (talk) 18:18, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
69: anecdote from the cosmopolitan. Christopher (talk) 18:20, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
33: another dead link. Christopher (talk) 18:21, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You're cherry-picking the low-hanging fruit here, but:

75: Citing a quotation and nothing more. I agree the blockquote-happy sections are less-than-ideal and impede the overall structure of the article. But the implication that personal accounts should never be presented in any context is bizarre and frankly troubling.

54: Are you seriously contesting a statement that fad diets are dangerous and ineffective? The article references a number of studies.

69: It's a personal account of how fatphobia can lead to worse health outcomes for obese patients. Not an ideal source, but not an invalid one. The problem is two-fold. Patients are less likely to seek healthcare because they fear being shamed or bullied, and doctors are more likely to misdiagnose or dismiss symptoms by incorrectly attributing them to weight. This means that something like cancer might not be caught until it is advanced and possibly untreatable. This problem is compounded for women, particularly for women of color. Some studies concerning ovarian cancer specifically: [1], [2], [3]. Splainer (talk) 19:13, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

Ok, I don't know what's going on here, but the "Obesity Paradox" is actually a textbook example (as in, it was literally in my textbooks) regarding statistics. The answer is quite simple; incredibly sick people tend to lose a lot of weight in the months before their deaths. Tuberculosis wasn't called "consumption" for nothing. Getting fatter to avoid death from being thin is like climbing higher to avoid being injured by the ground. It's sort of like being teetotal vs being a light drinker; teetotalers include people who are too sick to drink alcohol, thus a glass of wine a day "seems" like a healthy option but it's really just wishful thinking backed by poorly defined interpretations of stats in a grocery-store magazine. Coral (argue) 18:53, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
I’m pointing out problems with the article, not “cherry-picking”. I’m targeting “low hanging fruit” because they’re easy to fix, and I want the article to be fixed. A bad source for something true is still a bad source. I don’t think anecdotes of u have any place in the article, they don’t add anything. Christopher (talk) 19:42, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
@Christopher. It's curious that your review of sources overlooked the two Vox sources that present perspectives more favorable to your preferred version of the article. Are you basing your assessment of sources on quality or content? Splainer (talk) 20:31, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
I have nothing against Vox as a source inherently, I don’t like news articles that report on the results of scientific papers as it’s always better to just link to the paper itself. I’m trying to have a productive conversation about the issues with the article, and all you’re doing is trying to “win” by catching me out and making me look bad. The only bad “anti-HAES” source I could find at a glance was 79, makes an obviously valid point (anorexia isn’t the same as dieting) but it’s still just some blog. Christopher (talk) 20:39, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

Article needs major improvement. Scientific consensus is that obesity is unhealthy[edit]

Overweight (and not only obesity) are still regarded as diseases by the ICD, I don't think the consensus is upset by any means, Oxy. GeeJayK (talk) 16:30, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
My two sense is that this article shouldn't be about Obesity per se, but the Denialism amongst people regarding the health dangers of Obesity. Is it possible for an Obese person to be healthier than a Thin person? Of course. But is that likely to be the case? No. The simple fact is, even without the health effects of a poor diet, even if all your calories came from vegetables (no, especially vegetables; they have so few calories that eating 2500 calories of carrots probably has more "toxins" than 2500 calories of chicken), being larger still means your heart has to work that much harder, your joints suffer that much more stress, and your body breaks down and ages that much faster. Simply put, it is always healthier to a thin layer of fat than a thick one.
Now, the methods of losing weight are their own thing and could probably get an article all on their own. A "diet" literally means "what you eat", and not "temporarily giving up food to lose weight". A change in diet must be permanent. For example, giving up soda forever, even diet sodas, would probably be enough for most people. Reducing alcohol consumption would be a big one as well. SockPup (talk) 16:51, 30 March 2021 (UTC)

Keep up the good work[edit]

@Christopher Your patience in dealing with these morons is impeccable. This "splainer" user (who aside from having a fittingly inarticulate name) seems to be an account that ought to be in the immortal words of David Hume "commited to the flame"; and the sooner - the better; and by flame - I mean blocked. LeucippusTalk 23:54, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

Christopher's case isn't strong imo. I'm personally not very convinced. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 01:12, 29 March 2021 (UTC)



The Coca-Cola paragraph frankly reads like a conspiracy theory. The fat acceptance movement article (which needs its own overhaul, but that's another kettle of fish) highlights similar conspiracy theories advanced about Big Pharma/doctors/the diet industry funding research for nefarious reasons. There's certainly room for examining how conflicts of interest or corporate sponsorship can impact the quality of research. But stating that specific research is "suspicious" on no other apparent basis than guilt by association is unwarranted. Corporate sponsorship of research isn't exactly uncommon, after all. It's a systematic issue.

The source cited by the paragraph is insufficient. It presents a muddled understanding of what the obesity paradox actually is. In the first paragraph it suggests the obesity paradox holds that "our pursuit of thinness is a big, fat waste of time," i.e. that obesity has no associated health risks. This is emphatically not what the obesity paradoxWikipedia posits. The article goes on to state that Coke has funded research that "blame[s] obesity on too little exercise, rather than on too many calories." Once again: not something the obesity paradox posits. The author gets it right in a section rehashing her other article about the 2014 Stokes study, but that doesn't cancel out the earlier misinterpretation. All in all: maybe an OK source for for a section discussing conflicts of interest in research, but not a sufficient one for criticism of the obesity paradox, specifically. There's a number of critical academic studies that could be cited here in the Wikipedia article on the subject. Splainer (talk) 08:50, 3 April 2021 (UTC)