Obesity Media Overview, Part 2


Yesterday, Childhood Obesity News looked at some recent developments in the media coverage of obesity and related topics. Last summer, as described by reporter Kirsty McCormack, the “pro-anorexia website” called SkinnyGossip apparently targeted a 20-year-old fashion model named Kate Upton. Upset with her for being in a cheeseburger commercial, the clever gossip specialists called Ms. Upton a cannibal, and went partway toward explaining that insult for the slow of wit. If she’s eating beef, and committing cannibalism, therefore the model must be a cow.

The deeper question here is, why are humans so obsessed with reviewing other humans’ bodies, as if they were movies or laptop computers or something? Why is it so necessary to rate people, especially women, on a scale of 1 to 10, or with one to five stars, or whatever?

The term “trainspotter” came from Great Britain, and it refers to the mild mania of a certain type of hyper-focused person. A trainspotter will memorize every detail of the transport system, and ride around all day and take notes on the arrival and departure times of the train or bus, to compare with the printed schedule. They’re generally considered a pain, and nobody wants to be called a trainspotter.

But what about the adipocyte spotters? What about the people who are equally obsessed with every ounce of cellulite that comes or goes on a celebrity’s rear end? It’s insane, but it sells magazines. Why? The answers to that question might go some way toward clearing up the childhood obesity epidemic. McCormack notes:

Meanwhile, the pro-anorexia website continues to offer its visitors ‘starving tips of the day’ and now has a forum.

Also last year, Georgia Davis of South Wales made news as Britain’s most overweight teenager, because when it got to where she could no longer walk, a team of 50 rescue workers cut away part of a house wall so she could be hospitalized. This report by Phil Vinter says she weighed 56 stone, which would be an astonishing 784 pounds.

During the summer, a plan was formed for her to spend the rest of the year in a hospital in Wales and then return to an inpatient rehab camp in North Carolina where she had previously been enrolled. Her first stay there was very helpful, but she returned to Britain when her stepfather was diagnosed with cancer.

The family had tried to send her back to the States once already, but the 19-year-old panicked at the airport and was unable to make the trip. Next time, Ms. Davis’ parents were planning to go along. In the light of recent developments, it is surprising that any airline would allow her as a passenger. There does not seem to be any recent news on how it turned out.

Connecting to another subject Childhood Obesity News has discussed recently, the value of social networks, Vinter mentions that the teenager:

[…] has revealed she has received cards and letters of support from people across the country which have helped her win her battle against the scales.

A disturbing term that has been heard lately is “fat porn,” and in some usages it seems to mean any story about an obese person that really ought to be nobody’s business. Maybe this is an example. Maybe Georgia Davis is still fighting the good fight, without the publicity this time.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Pro-anorexia website brands Kate Upton a ‘cannibal’ following Carl’s Jr. burger commercial,” DailyMail.co.uk, 07/07/12
Source: “You’ve Got to Go Back to Fat Camp,” DailyMail.co.uk, 07/08/12
Image by Avinash Bhat.

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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