The University of Maryland plans to offer a class in Winter 2016 entitled, "Perspectives on Identity and Culture; Introduction to Fat Studies."
According to Campus Reform, the class will not portray "fatness" as a health problem, but quotes the class syllabus as calling fatness “an aspect of human diversity, experience, and identity.”
The syllabus, which has been removed from the university's website, reportedly says that fat studies is “a field that is not concerned with the eradication of fatness, but with offering a sustained critique of anti-fat sentiment, discrimination, and policy.”
Campus Reform also notes that the syllabus instructs students to “explore the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance site.”
The NAAFA site states it is a nonprofit, "all volunteer, civil rights organization dedicated to protecting the rights and improving the quality of life for fat people. NAAFA works to eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment through advocacy, public education, and support."
Campus Reform reports that students are also supposed to read the “Fat Liberation Manifesto," which says: "WE single out as our special enemies the so-called 'reducing' industries. These include diet clubs, reducing salons, fat farms, diet doctors, diet books, diet foods and food supplements, surgical procedures, appetite suppressants, drugs and gadgetry such as wraps and 'reducing machines.'"
The instructor of the course, fourth-year Ph.D. student Cassy Griff, would not comment to Campus Reform about the class.
In contrast to the reported course description, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states: "Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death."
It also notes, "The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight."
Sources: Campus Reform, University Of Maryland (2), National Association To Advance Fat Acceptance, Fat Liberation Manifesto, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention / Photo credit: University Of Maryland Logo