Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Fat Is Phat

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Fat Is Phat

Article excerpt

Byline: Geoff Lewis

Obesity is epidemic in America. It's also epidemic on magazine covers. In the late '90s, medical publications began carrying stories about the soaring numbers of overweight Americans. As far back as 1998, consumer books, like Better Nutrition, were documenting the trend. But, as more alarming statistics began to emerge - including estimates that 30 percent of all adults and as many as one-third of all children in the United States are obese - the coverage became more mainstream. Over the past summer, with fresh data indicating the rising costs to the economy for treating obesity, the Dept. of Health and Human Services announced that it would begin to pay for treatment of obesity itself, in an effort to reduce the costs of treating chronic ailments such as diabetes that are linked to obesity.

So, in this sea of coverage, how have magazine editors and art directors tried to grab the public's attention? How to handle the subject without offending the "horizontally challenged," who also happen to be magazine readers? In typical contrarian fashion, the libertarian Reason magazine, attacked the government attack on fat. Its August/September cover is an in-your-face shot of a denim-draped derriere. The coverline: The War on Fat - Is the size of your butt the government's business? Of course, the answer is no.

Time got a head start this summer, putting the subject on the cover of its June 6 issue. Also predictably, the giant weekly took a far more tasteful tack. …

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