In fact, recent research has found no appreciable difference in mortality rates among fat Americans with a BMI less than 35. Only 6 percent of the American population fall into that category, Saguy points out. Many more medical issues pose a greater threat to more Americans, most notably malnutrition and smoking.
"Media coverage of obesity overtook reporting on hunger and malnutrition in 2002 despite the fact that the World Health Organization deemed hunger to be the leading cause of world death," she said. "Similarly, cigarette smoking continues to be the leading cause of 'preventable death' despite the increasing shift of focus from smoking to obesity."
Blaming the victim can even lead to medical problems. Saguy and Riley found that prospect of "being harangued" about their weight keeps some overweight people from seeking treatment for medical conditions that are much more clearly treatable and more risky than obesity. For instance, they cite research showing that obese women are less likely to receive cervical exams than their thinner counterparts.
There's a lot of good stuff in this article, and I encourage everyone to read it, and share it. It's nice to have a reputable authority point out that arguments from FA/SA groups do hold some validity, even if it is only the sociologists doing the validating. ;)