I'm not in the technically overweight category (approx 13% bf and decreasing) and I've never been in the position of someone that falls under the obese category (bmi), so this is really the opinion of an observer.
Anyway, disclaimer out the way, I just wanted to see peoples opinions on what is actually driving this 'weight loss' craze western society seems to be experiencing and whether its actually good...
I'm not arguing against the benefits of moderate bodyfat but the whole thing seems to be driven primarily by image. Personally, I think its more important to address these issues inherent in our society rather than the 'obesity epidemic' (man what a f$#cked up term), which is probably a pretty difficult task but promoting weight loss through self loathing (maybe those words are a bit extreme) isn't going to solve anything.
Just take for instance tv shows like the biggest loser, and the mentality that the contestants have, or the thread on this forum (which prompted this post from me) "Fat kid something about BS" where people responded with dietary advice (which was well received!) or commenting on his pretty rude posting style.
What I noticed tho is the use of 'disgusting fat' and 'cringe' (at photos of himself) which probably reflect the view of himself... sorry to be impersonal with my references
So why do I think that image and identity issues are a bad driving force for weight loss? Positively reinforcing good dietary and exercise habits by image 'enhancement' (relative to their perceived 'uglier' self) only affirms the visual definition of identity i.e. if you make people feel better because they believe they are more attractive they are more inclined to define themselves based on their appearance, and define others in a similar fashion... so a positive feedback.
In Oz, another public health crisis is that of mental illness (mostly depression), and it makes you wonder how much of this is derived from inadequacy and insecurity over appearance given the emphasis that is placed on image.