As a fat woman – and one who likes to think she exercises her grey matter on occasion – I’m used to reading stupid things that’ve been published under the name ‘journalism’. Usually these pieces make me cringe more than anything but today I read something so mind-numbingly stupid I had to share.
This article was published on Stuff (a New Zealand web site run by Fairfax media) with the title ‘Bid To Break Obesity Cycle’. The actual article (headlined slightly less sensationally as ‘Mums-to-be Targeted For Testing’) made me see red while also wondering what the hell was going on. The general gist is that apparently the obesity epidemic can be blamed on us fat Mums who eat too much/badly when we’re pregnant, therefore making our future children fat, diabetic, and likely to get heart disease. From the article:
“A mother’s diet can determine a child’s future weight, and risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to research by Sir Peter Gluckman, chief science adviser to the prime minister.
In a dangerous cycle, the new generation of children are then more likely to pass bad eating habits and diabetes to their children.”
But wait – it gets better!
“The rising rates of gestational diabetes and maternal obesity are a real concern. All New Zealand women should have a glucose tolerance test during pregnancy,” Gluckman wrote in his submission to a health select committee on September 26. He said the current burden of gestational diabetes is probably being “grossly underestimated”.
AUT nutrition professor Elaine Rush said three in 100 women now develop gestational diabetes, but in the next 10 years it will be one in four.
She said testing every mother for gestational diabetes will work only if there are support services to back it up.”
Fat shaming and anti-fat rhetoric aside (hell, I’m used to seeing that in the mainstream press!) this is the bit that made my jaw drop: “All New Zealand women should have a glucose tolerance test during pregnancy” (emphasis mine).
Why did it get me so? Because we already do test for GD! Fairly extensively, in fact!
Now, I’m sure there are a few women who don’t, but in New Zealand it’s a very, very common test and I personally don’t know, and haven’t heard of, anyone who’s refused it. It’s usually done somewhere about 26-28 weeks if I remember correctly. In fact during my last pregnancy they made me keep doing it over and over because they couldn’t believe someone as fat as me wasn’t diabetic :) But I digress.
The combination of fat shaming and blaming with sheer bald-faced *lying* made my jaw drop. The media routinely lies about fat issues (as do most of the so-called ‘experts’) and – I don’t know about you – I kind of expect that. After all, how can they paint us as the Monsters we so truly are (!) if they don’t create, nurture and inflame anti-fat prejudice. But to lie about something that a large percentage of their female readers will have experienced first-hand… that to me is a whole ‘nother matter.
Is this enough to make people thing “Hang on a second…”? I hope so.
Edited to add: The photo accompanying this piece was also a doozy – a headless pregnant woman, with a huge Danger! sign body painted on her belly. And was this pregnant woman fat in any way? Hell no! Why illustrate an article shaming fat mums with a fat mum? Geeez.