A matter of quality versus quantity

31st August 2007

A matter of quality versus quantity

I think Rio Iriri hit the nail on its head with her deduction that the anti-fat hysteria isn’t really about fat at all, it’s about our collective fear of death.

She writes:

“We’ve come a long way, and we’re so technologically advanced that we can prevent untimely demise in ways that were never before dreamed possible… So when someone raises a spectre of early demise in the form of adipose tissue, of course we want to “do something” about it.”

I think the looming predictions of major US food firms will reaffirm this conclusion. reports that the Campbell Soup Company expects a major shift in the wellness market, which will affect the way its products are developed and marketed.

According to Chor San Khoo, the firm’s vice president of global nutrition and health, longevity will be the next big trend to hit the industry.

“Wellness is a huge market, and is growing at double digit rates. But the way consumers consider wellness is changing, and we predict there will be great changes in the market over the next ten years, which will impact how we develop products, how we market them, and possibly how we regulate them,” she said.

“When the health and wellness market first emerged, the focus was on foods with health benefits. Now it is on a better quality of life. In the future, consumers will want to live longer… In the next ten years, I predict we won’t use the term ‘wellness’ anymore, we’ll use ‘live longer’ as a basis for how we market products,” she said.

And of course Campbell’s has jumped on that thin bandwagon, which heralds obesity as public enemy no. 1.

“We’re getting older and fatter. Obesity is the cross point to multiple disease conditions,” said Khoo.

The hypothesized link of obesity to disease is tenuous at best, often perpetuated by companies who have a vested financial interest in seeing obesity further stigmatized and classified as a disease. For more information about the health fallacies surrounding obesity, here’s a primer.

All debate of obesity as an indicator of poor health, aside. Shouldn’t the measure of a human life be based on quality, not quantity? Someday, when I am old, gray and wrinkled, I will look over the course of my life and lament those precious moments spent lost to dieting, obsessing over how I look, the years spent railing against my body when I should have been inhabiting it. What could I have accomplished had I taken the energy and passion I put into changing my body and instead directed it at changing the world?

Pity Prometheus, whose punishment was to live forever in eternal suffering.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 31st, 2007 at 10:42 am and is filed under Body Image, Fat Bias, Health, Nutrition & Fitness, Pop Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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  1. 1 On August 31st, 2007, Patsy Nevins said:

    Indeed, they are marketing false hopes & preying on fears. Being fat doesn’t shorten life. However, even if it did in any way, what’s the point of all this maddened searching for eternal life? No living organism is designed to live forever, & contrary to what they want us to believe, aging is NOT a disease, but a normal, natural part of life. I have no idea how long I will live, but I intent to live as fully as I can every moment. I am reminded of a quote from Denis Leary, when someone queried him about his chainsmoking & reminded him that he could gain years of life by quitting. I don’t remember the exact words, but the gist was that they forget to tell you that the “extra” years gained are not years of youth & full health & strength or even still reasonably healthy & vigorous midlife, but years when you may be eating pablum, wearing diapers, & having trouble remembering your own name. Average life expectancy increases every day & health on average improves every day, even as they scream a about how we are getting fatter. Quitting smoking, if one so chooses, may indeed grant improved health & longer life, but weight loss does not; just the opposite, in fact. And they cannot sell us perfect health or immortality, all they can do is SELL us, & sell us they do, with more psychological manipulation, lies, & misrepresentation than we can ever fully imagine. My many fat relatives have cooked with lard, eaten what they wished, & I am the only regular exerciser in the bunch, but I guess that no one thought to tell them that they had no right to live into their 80′s & 90′s, so they did it anyway.

  2. 2 On September 5th, 2007, Kate Harding said:

    “When the health and wellness market first emerged, the focus was on foods with health benefits. Now it is on a better quality of life…”

    You know what’s a HUGE factor in my quality of life? Eating what tastes good to me when I’m hungry. Go figure.

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