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Say 'Aaah' | YOUR HEALTH ONLINE

To Serve and Support Overweight People

March 19, 2001

National Assn. to Advance Fat Acceptance

www.naafa.org

Background: NAAFA is a Sacramento-based nonprofit that has been advocating on behalf of the overweight since 1969. Its Web site keeps consumers up to date on the legal, medical and social aspects of being large.

What Works: This site is instant good company for anyone who's fat--"not a four-letter word," according to the NAAFA, but "an adjective, like short, tall, thin or blond . . . which society has given a derogatory meaning." Combative, contrarian, and gleefully anti-establishment, the site casts the world of diet, weight-loss drugs and obesity research in a harsh and revealing light. In a feature titled "Before You Start Your Next Diet . . ." NAAFA demands you ask yourself: Why do you want to lose weight? Are you naturally fat? Do you have an eating problem? Many dieters--and even some doctors--never ask those questions, although the answers are crucial to the success or failure of any effort to lose weight, NAAFA explains. Here too you'll find updates on initiatives to combat discrimination against fat people, and the latest news stories relevant to the topic.

What Doesn't: NAAFA prefers advocacy over analysis, and its discussion of the science of obesity research suffers. Offended by the weight-loss industry's efforts to define obesity (and thus fatness) as a disease, NAAFA slights entire areas of research that seek to explain how extra weight is linked to conditions such as type II diabetes and heart disease. Many heavy people are fit, healthy and happy; yet, millions of Americans don't wear extra weight so well, their health does suffer, and they deserve a sober evaluation of the evidence behind different weight-loss strategies.

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