I was once told that “obesity is the last legal form of discrimination.” While, as a society, we have made significant efforts to acknowledge and protect the things which make us unique. Obesity remains outside the lines drawn by these protections. Not only is it an area around which the medical and lay communities have countless misunderstandings and biases, but it is a subject about which we are rarely afraid to express our opinions and judgments.

Obesity is at epidemic levels in this country. A generation of interventions have failed to make a difference, and things only look to be getting worse as we move ahead. It is time that we challenge ourselves to improve the level of conversation around the subject. It will only be through taking personally responsibility to know more and speak more responsibly that we will be able to have a more constructive conversation.

Peter Attia, MD is a physician in San Diego who has taken a personal interest in this subject. In 2013, he spoke at a TED conference and offers a level set for our understanding. The TED conference bills itself as offering “ideas worth spreading,” and this lives up to that title.