An Excuse to Quit Dieting: 'The Case Against Health'

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Richard Klein is against health. Well, not exactly health, more like the Health Industrial Complex, which Klein, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, says is making us sicker.

"We may be nearing a point where institutions of public health and the commercial interests that surround it, including the media, do more harm than good to the nation's health," Klein writes.

The official version of health peddled by our current system is not only venal but potentially noxious. In some instances, public health has been transformed into a kind of iatric disease, a medically induced assault on the health of society. Our minders trumpet the obesity epidemic even as epidemiological evidence suggests that "yo-yo dieting" (repeatedly losing and regaining weight over a period of several years) actively damages the immune system. At any given time, it is estimated that 50 percent of all women are on diets, and 95 percent of all diets fail. The more we diet, the fatter we seem to become...
To be against health is to be critical of the myths and lies concerning our health that are circulated by the media and paid for by large industries. It is to demystify their hidden moralizing and their political agenda. It also means expanding the idea of iatric disease to include the moral and physical harm that is done to the public by particular nostrums of public health, especially those that impose constraints and privations 'for your own good,' as the saying goes...

"To be against health also means putting forth a different idea of health," Klein writes. One that values--gasp--pleasure.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.