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September 2013

The Love Song of the Headless Fatty and Other Observations

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(9):790-791. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2498

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
T. S. Eliot

We expect it in popular culture. The image of the “headless fatty,” typically accompanied by some exaggerated portion of fast food, so often used to represent the ever-present “epidemic” of childhood obesity.

But the stigma of obesity is not isolated to the world outside the ivory tower. In truth, it seeps into the work we do on a regular basis, small moments of stigmatization that are overlooked or unrecognized. We have allowed obesity to become synonymous with the behaviors we believe precede it and, in doing so, have limited our ability to actually improve the lives of the children we hope to help.