Fat kills babies!!

Ok, I am little more forgiving than most because I used to be a journalist and I am well aware that only the top few have the privilege to both write what they want and have it printed without being heavily edited. I remember when the foreshore hikoi was at it’s height (2004) and the national networks and press outlets were all full of the Pakeha side of the story. I was lucky enough to gain an interview with the Maori movers and shakers behind the hikoi. I wrote my stories – several of them – giving the Maori point of view. They played locally because I was a one-woman newsroom and had carte blanche control over what we broadcast (within reason). I sent the stories to the national feed as well, as per usual practice. But they were ignored in favour of more Pakeha slanted coverage. This isn’t a stand out incident, either – just a fairly common occurence in newsrooms across the country.

But even so, one would hope that personal pride would prevent a so called professional ‘journalist’ from writing a story like this (although, of course, there is every chance they *didn’t*, and it’s been edited this way). It’s titled Obesity normal say women and gave me a mental vision of a bunch of chained-up fatties shouting FA slogans and chanting about the usefulness of HAES  🙂

Unfortunately the content isn’t as funny.

Apparently a Brisbane study (oh dear, Aussie madness!) of just over 400 pregnant women has concluded that the poor dears are so deluded that they now view obesity as normal. Apparently 30% of them – like me! – were either overweight or obese before they became pregnant and when queried about their weight 36% said it was ‘normal’. Here’s the first couple of slip ups by the journalist; was that 36% part of the 30% fatty group, or were they 36% of the entire study? And secondly – what exactly where they asked; whether their weight was ‘normal in society’s eyes’ or ‘normal for *them*’. These missing facts make it impossible to make much sense of the story, which includes the usual ‘fat makes getting pregnant and pregnancy hard’ bullshit which is trotted out for each and every physical malady known to (wo)man.

I’m going to skip over the entire BMI is bullshit argument (I sort of assume you’ve heard it, if you haven’t, try googling The BMI Project) as a starter, and get to what really pissed me off – this quote which I shall bold in all it’s farcial glory:

“Dr Callaway said the research highlighted the importance of doctors calculating the BMI of patients and advising them of the increased risk that extra weight would pose to a developing baby.”

Let’s get this straight; your weight *does not* pose a risk to your developing baby. I am soooooo extremely angry that a so-called professional would say that, and another report and disseminate that, without a shred of proof. I am sure there are other obese women out there who are pregnant and perhaps a little scared (natural, especially if it’s your first) and reading this will do wonders for their stress levels – and hey, stress *does* seem to affect the unborn fetus. But who cares, so long as we can shame the fatties for breeding in the first fucking place??

I will repeat it: your weight *does not* pose a risk to your developing baby. There have been no studies even vaguely suggesting this is so. If you are obese before you get pregnant you do have a slightly higher risk of developing gestational diabetes or toxemia but there are several risk factors for these conditions, including multiple births.

It’s bad enough that this bullshit is put put there by so-called professionals who should know better. It’s bad enough that others repeat this information. But a key part of being a journalist is sorting through the dross thrown at you to find the nugget of truth; peeling back the spin and revealing the actuality. This journalist has failed to do that, despite having several chances within the story to do so. And they’ve scared the hell out of a bunch of people in the process.

Not just a fail, but dereliction of duty.

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2 Responses

  1. Yanno, I always thought that shoddy, sensentionalized journalism was an American thing, and I’m now sad and a little worried if its infecting non-american media as well.

    Journalism IS supposed to be about the truth as much as the story, but unfortunately the pursuit of money is corrupting even that.

    • I left it because it seemed to be more concerned with supporting prejudice than finding out the truth. I always thought journalism was a powerful tool that was able to put one in another’s shoes – but these days you’re right, it’s more about money.

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