Under the headline Weight Loss is Not the Answer: What Michelle Obama Doesn't Get About Obesity, Judith Shuvelitz writes in the New Republic:
The impulse to castigate the plus-sized—even when, especially when, they are us—runs very deep. And that’s sad for two reasons. First, by 2010, more than 40 percent of American adults and 17 percent of youths were obese or morbidly obese. By 2030, more than half of America’s adults and a third of its young people may fit that description. Second, we’re learning ever more reasons not to regard the corpulent as pathetic losers. Obesity clearly amounts to more than a failure of willpower. Even the staid American Medical Association agrees; it just upgraded obesity from a “condition” to a “disease.” Our knee-jerk irritation at the overweight, it turns out, may be the twenty-first-century equivalent of the nineteenth-century sniff at the tubercular (too neurasthenic to live) and the 1980s view of the HIV-positive (obviously depraved). “This is one of the larger trends in the history of medicine,” said Rudolph Leibel, a pioneer in obesity research at Columbia University. “First we blame it on the patient.” (Emphasis ours.)
Shuvelitz, The New Republic's science editor, continues:
What would help the most, according to obesity doctors, would be for patients, general practitioners, insurers, and even regulatory agencies to grasp that weight loss, on its own, does not cure obesity.