Epistemological and ethical assessment of obesity bias in industrialized countries

Abstract
Bernard Lonergan's cognitive theory challenges us to raise questions about both the cognitive process through which obesity is perceived as a behaviour change issue and the objectivity of such a moral judgment. Lonergan's theory provides the theoretical tools to affirm that anti-fat discrimination, in the United States of America and in many industrialized countries, is the result of both a group bias that resists insights into the good of other groups and a general bias of anti-intellectualism that tends to set common sense against insights that require any thorough scientific analyses. While general bias diverts the public's attention away from the true aetiology of obesity, group bias sustains an anti-fat culture that subtly legitimates discriminatory practices and policies against obese people. Although anti-discrimination laws may seem to be a reasonable way of protecting obese and overweight individuals from discrimination, obesity bias can be best addressed by reframing the obesity debate from an environmental perspective from which tools and strategies to address both the social and individual determinants of obesity can be developed. Attention should not be concentrated on individuals' behaviour as it is related to lifestyle choices, without giving due consideration to the all-encompassing constraining factors which challenge the social and rational blindness of obesity bias
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