Fatties are a Sound Investment

In a report this week, Sarbjit Nahal, an equity strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research said  “Global obesity is a mega-investment theme for the next 25 years and beyond.”

It seems that there is big money in pathologizing body size and then selling a bunch of things to “cure” this “problem” all of which fail spectacularly.

Like Qysmia, a diet pill which in two separate trials, when combined with diet and exercise, lead to weight loss of 6.7% and 8.9% respectively after a year. It should be noted that for someone with a BMI of 30, an 8.9% weight loss would leave them in the overweight category which they were only barely out of to begin with.  For someone with a BMI of 35, an 8.9% weight loss would leave them still obese (and therefore, even by the mistaken definition of obesity as an illness, the best case scenario for this pill hasn’t really “improved” the users’ health at all).

Also, no news on what happens after year one (which one might think is significant since the vast majority of dieters gain their weight back between years two and five), and no news on what happens if you go off the pill (which one might think is significant because in the past the effects of the diet pill only continued while people continued to take the pill.)

The FDA did acknowledge that it appears to cause heart issues, but don’t worry – after approving it they’ve insisted that Vivus Inc.  conduct a long-term cardiovascular outcomes trial to assess the effect of Qsymia on the risk for heart attack and stroke.  I’m sure that comes as a great comfort to people whose doctors prescribe them this medication without benefit of the results of that assessment.  But think of how much money they’ll make before they might find out that it kills people.  Really you don’t have to think about it – just google what happened with Fen-phen (phentermine by the way – the Phen in fen-phen – is  half of this new drug) Sure, people might die, but what’s a few deaths when there’s so much money to be had, a few dead people is acceptable damage considering the amount of profit they stand to make.

Ok, so here’s my idea to make us all rich.  Americans are getting taller – just imagine the profits to be made if we declare tallness a disease. We’ll start doing studies to figure out what is correlated to tallness (it won’t matter that it’s not actually caused by the tallness, because the media doesn’t seem to know the difference.) Then we’ll use that information to make tall people terrified of their tallness, willing to pay billions every year on products to get shorter.  Sure it’s pesky that nobody actually gets shorter, but I’ve got us covered -  we’ll just say they aren’t trying hard enough to get shorter – the products didn’t fail, the people did…they lack personal responsibility.  Americans love to bully people who are accused of lacking personal responsibility, soon it spins itself!  Of course we’ll have to learn to live with the fact that we are profiting off lies and fear mongering but we’ll be rich.

Meanwhile in the real world not only are fat people scapegoats,  used for everything from punching bags to political cover, we also get to be a commodity and profit center for people who work very hard to keep the systems by which we are stigmatized and oppressed in place. Isn’t that great? Aren’t you just, like, so happy right now?

And they are still trying to convince us that everyone is just concerned about our health?  Sell bullshit somewhere else, we’re all stocked up here.

Check Out My New Book.  The E-Book is “Name Your Own Price”!

I wanted everyone to be able to afford Fat: The Owner’s Manual – Surviving a Thin-Obsessed World with your Health, Happiness, and Sense of Humor Intact  so it  is now available in soft cover and e-book which is “name your own price”

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I do HAES and SA activism, speaking and writing full time, and I don’t believe in putting corporate ads on my blog and making my readers a commodity. So if you find value in my work, want to support it, and you can afford it, you can  become a member (you get extra stuff, discounts, and you’re always the first to know about things) or you can support my work with a  one-time contribution.  The regular e-mail blog subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is still completely free. If you’re curious about this policy, you might want to check out this post.  Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

Published in: on July 21, 2012 at 6:58 am  Comments (19)  

19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Let’s not forget the war to be waged on tallness. Every time a politician or someone in the media uses that phraseology, my eye-rolling quotient goes up exponentially, no matter what they’re referring to.

    Thanks for the info on Qysmia. I’ll have to put that in my mental file of Avoid, Avoid, Avoid. There are just so many things wrong with that.

  2. Brilliant. Thank you.

    For Qsymia sales, not only are a few dead people perfectly acceptable to the bottom line, but let’s not forget these would be a few dead *fat* people. So, you know, it’s win-win, right?

    It’s becoming painfully obvious and deeply concerning that some of these people simply don’t care if a fat person dies! We only serve as a cautionary tale while they come out of the situation looking noble… “We gave our best to save them, but I guess they were just too fat.”

    *sigh*

    • This was the first thing that crossed my mind too. I could just hear the write ups in the medical journals… yes, a few people died, but when you consider how many of them would have died anyway because fat people are so diseased… only with more syllables.

      • Not really that much different from the serious gay bashing in the 70s-80s-90s. Let’s cure a disease. A few die in the great challenge to “fix” those that need fixing…be it via medical means or other. Wow, fortunate for us fat people it’s by “legal” medical means, eh?

        As for Americans being bullies, sad to say that other continents are as heinous in their treatment of fat people as well. Of course mostly pointing to the US, OMG, look at those fat, disgusting Americans. But often to their own as well. I suppose someone must bear the brunt of discontent of society that everyone else can’t manage to maintain for themselves, eh?

  3. Isn’t this the one that the FDA justified approving by saying that it was just too important to get diet drugs out there, so long-term studies weren’t important?

  4. Ugh. I’ve also read that one of the components of Qsymia (the topiramate) is a very heavy drug with lots of lasting cognitive side effects, and here they’re going to be handing it out like candy. If my doc were even to suggest it (I have a BMI of 27 so it’s not out of the question) I would laugh in her face.

  5. Good snark, but I was hoping it would be about the money to be made by selling good quality stuff to fat people. Just the market for clothing is huge and underserved.

    I use the state of the market (somewhat improved, but still not good) for women’s clothing as a proof that people would rather be prejudiced than make money, but I keep hoping that the chance to make money will help grind down the prejudice.

    • I was hoping for this also! We are a grossly underserved market. :)

    • I agree with what you are saying. I think there is another component of greed that is not entirely financial. It’s the notion that if everyone can have _____ (pretty clothes), it diminished the value, desirability, and exclusivity of the things that I have, and it’s by having better things that I know that I am better than _____ people.
      So gross.

      • True, but I think there are other factors. One is that bullying is fun. I believe and hope that it’s not the best sort of fun, but there’s a lot of evidence that some people enjoy it.

        The other piece is that people are apt to be afraid of being bullied, sometimes for good reason.

        Someone who has a business which makes clothes for fat people will probably take flack for it, and I think one of the reasons that those clothes aren’t produced to the extent that they’re wanted is that people who have the resources are likely to reflexively shy away from the idea of making the clothes.

  6. In modern, consumerist capitalism, the value of something is based on desire for it. As long as people want it, then it has value (this opposed to the more old fashioned idea that value came from the craft and quality of a product).

    Dieting does not work (and all the versions of that including drugs). But people want to lose weight and they have become convinced that the failure of the product is located within themselves not the product. So they want more and when it doesn’t satisfy, they want even more. If we all got thin from this crap, there would be no market.

    The key to the market expansion is that it doesn’t work and that because it doesn’t work, we try to hard and desire more.

    Thus, the dieting is the perfect consumerist capitalist product. Never satisfying. Always of value.

    Or, as I have put it more succinctly in other places: Dieting is a capitalist wet dream!

  7. I saw an interview on Diane Sawyer where she was talking about the diet pill to the Doctor, cant remember his name. She asked if it was dangerous. He said yes but the benefits out weigh it. Can you believe a Doctor would say that? YES. As for the stock market, we can put a stop to that in a few years when they find out most of us fatties refuse to diet. A big go get ‘em to the large size clothing, furniture and anything else that will be needed to accomodate the large population who will be happy,in their big bodies, to purchase the new and improved items. If that is 60%, that is a hell of a lot of green backs.

    • And you have to ask yourself how much that doctor is making from the sales of the medication. I used to work for a broker who catered to doctors. Every single one of them had a portfolio full of drug company stocks and most of these guys were millionaires or coming close to it. I’m sure they would argue that doesn’t play into their medical decisions, but there is such a thing in law and finance called the “smell” test. This is a blatant conflict of interest and one that no one holds them accountable for. I used to talk calls for my boss from these physicians who were checking on their stocks and they would leave the operating room phone number as the call back. Yep, about ready to open up a patient. OOo, better see if my stocks are up today. This 7 month job is what led me to medical sociology and it is why I am an incredible cynic about the pharmaceutical industrial complex. It is, as my hubby would say, “a racket.” (BTW, fat people are the test case but we are not alone. The whole system is fucked up, imho.)

      • Wow. That is messed up. The doctor is the one who is a commentator regularly on ABC news. The only saving grace here is we have the right not to take the pills thank goodness. So many of the doctors are also in the diet industry.

  8. You know what I can’t understand? If they want to make money off of fat people, and there ARE a lot of us….so I can totally understand that, then WHY don’t they CATER TO US instead? Why not specialize, in making things…. FOR US? I mean, REALLY… for us. Not like “you’re a loser so you need this” but like, “here’s this wonderful thing, celebrate wonderful you with this” kinda for us. Why not use POSITIVE marketing, and make stuff we can actually freaking ENJOY?

    • Because fat people are BAD and need to be punished.

  9. Another thing that still doesn’t make sense to me…. why is it that our society has a bigger is better attitude towards everything BUT the size of our bodies? I mean, look at the success of the entire supersize me campaign…. and places like Costco or Sams where people buy in bulk…. look at the “all you can eat” buffets….. you see the message all the time….but never applied to the size of a woman’s ass. Why is that? How can they promote more is better…. and then punish someone for having more?

    • LOL you have a point there.

    • Becuse beauty is supposed to be rare, not common. Would you value a trophy as much if everyone wins it? People want the competitive factor, and there is no glory in winning what seems to be very easy.


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