That was the title of this really interesting article by Helen Lee.
She starts with something I don't recall ever having previously read: researchers at meetings of the American Public Health Association hand-wringing over obesity - in 1952!
Read the whole thing, but here is a bit that matches very closely with some of the major themes in my book The Food Police (coming out in only 2 weeks!)
. . . more than a few pundits, philanthropists, and advocates have homed in on the idea that the proliferation of fast, cheap, and unhealthy foods had a significant impact on the rise of obesity; that the industrialization and subsidization of agriculture had made foods artificially inexpensive, and food companies responded by supersizing and vastly expanding snack and beverage options. Like the tobacco industry before it, the food industry was profiting by selling slickly marketed products that were dangerously addictive, particularly for the poor, who lacked grocery stores offering healthier food options. Much of the American public health and medical establishment came to believe that one of the most powerful ways to overcome the epidemic was to radically remake our school and neighborhood food environments, reducing access to unhealthy foods and increasing access to healthy ones.
But in their rush to condemn corporate agribusiness, food marketers, and neighborhood food environments, public health advocates have too often allowed their policy and ideological preferences to race ahead of the science. This has fostered a reductive story about obesity that appeals to liberal audiences but doesn’t comport particularly well with much of what we know about why people choose to eat unhealthy foods, what the health consequences of being overweight or obese actually are, or why health outcomes associated with obesity are so much worse among some populations than others.
Against the current popular discourse, obesity is better understood as an unintended consequence of affluence than as a disease epidemic.