I know no one actually thinks this, but it sure seems like they do sometimes. Of course, fat shamers, health trolls, armchair physicians, and wannabe economists emphasize that their concern is rooted in health, quality of life, or even insurance burdens. But let's talk about that.
For instance, did you know that black newborns are over twice as likely to die as white :( https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5649a5.htm Where am I going with this statistic? Well, it's not something about skin pigments that hurts babies. Instead studies have shown black mothers are less likely to seek healthcare and when they do, they are often treated differently, on average. That results in a 100% increase in infant mortality! Do you think obese patients also feel some shame in seeking treatment? And when they do seek treatment, do think they are treated differently? The evidence I've seen says absolutely. A fat person complaining about not feeling well is much more likely to get a pat answer like "just go lose weight".
And, wait, just how much more likely is a fat person to get heart disease? The answer is actually pretty complicated. For instance, some studies show moderate weight gain actually reducing heart disease: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8550265 . Of course, researchers are quick to highlight large weight gains, but it's still not a 100% increase and of course they don't correct for the shame factor. I wonder how much of that increase is due to highly obese people being loathe to complain to a dismissive healthcare professional.
Another example: in the 1980s, AIDS was originally called GRID - Gay Related Immune Deficiency. The medical response to it? "Stop being gay". I really don't mean to offend anyone, but that seems a lot like the medical response to hypertension nowadays -- "Stop being fat". Of course, some will respond that fat is a choice. Is it though? There are relatively few studies on long-term weight loss -- most that mention it are actually referring to a year or two. But those that look at true long-term (>10 year) and major (>20%) weight loss show about 5% and as low as 2.4% success for some groups. Instead most get caught in cycles of losing and regaining, each time feeling more defeated. So the common medical recommendation is something that fails about 95% of the time?? Incidentally, it wasn't until gays stood up for themselves that real research in curtailing the AIDS epidemic got attention. Similarly, there are actually many promising and increasingly effective treatments for hypertension ranging from better drugs to pomegranates -- if only people have the confidence to seek them out.
My favorite though is the wannabe economists lamenting the cost of treating obesity. They calculate the cost of obesity treatment, and then act like people would otherwise live forever without it. Heart disease is indeed the leading cause of death in the US and it's expensive. But you know what's right behind it? Cancer. In fact, if you don't die of heart disease, then you are most likely going to die of cancer. And if that doesn't get you, then you can wait until you're mind is ravaged by Alzheimers. Do you think those are cheap diseases? The *average* cost of treating a heart attack is about $18,200 (http://money.com/money/3557240/heart-disease-costs-prevention/ ). Yep, a big price tag. Does it get cheaper if you dodge that bullet and get cancer instead? Nope. You're looking at about $150,000 for that (https://www.aarp.org/money/credit-loans-debt/info-2018/the-high-cost-of-cancer-treatment.html ). Maybe you take such perfect care of your body that you're only risk is your mind. Holding out for dementia will cost you $341,000! (https://www.alzheimers.net/the-cost-of-dementia-care/ ). Sure if you're lucky, you'll live long enough for an asteroid or something to knock you out for free, but I feel its disingenuous to act like obesity is the boogeyman of medical bills.
If health trolls really cared about quality-of-life, do you know one thing that is universally associated with a better life? Mental health. Not shaming people, not judging them, letting them live their lives whether they're losing weight, struggling with weight, or prefer to be overweight. Generations of negative comments on weight haven't made a bit of difference in obesity rates. But letting people find joy in the body they have, letting them celebrate their life as they choose, I think that can make an actual difference in people's happiness and overall well-being better than any other supposedly well-meaning concerns.
(I should add a disclaimer that I'm at least partially biased because I find larger body types quite attractive, but at the same time, I think and hope that that also allows me to look at statistics without common prejudices and possibly offer a different perspective. Thanks for reading)