December 30th, 2013
09:33 AM ET

Defending Against Fat Prejudice

"Scholar. Writer. Activist. Unapologetic Fat Lady."

That's how Wayne State university grad student Amanda Levitt describes herself.

Levitt is the founder of, a blog where she writes about fat prejudice and defends the right everyone has to be comfortable and confident in his or her body.

Levitt says: "Specifically, fat people are more likely to live in poverty, we're more likely to deal with stigma in every facet of our lives from, especially because it's incredibly gendered and targets women specifically, fat women are less likely to be hired, less likely to be promoted. Fat people in general are more likely to deal with stigma when we go to the doctor's office."

But in a world where zero is the goal, and the word "fat" often equals "unhealthy,"  Levitt's message has met a very mixed response.

Amid words of thanks, the comments on Levitt's blog are also filled with hate: curse words, ugly names, even death threats. Critics who say Levitt is defending an unhealthy body type.

She responds saying "It's really them assuming that fat people live a specific lifestyle, that they live in a specific body and in a specific way that makes it so they're unhealthy. I'm far more interested in talking about poverty, far more interested in talking about how we live in a society that has a lot of inequality and not really interested in trying to defend my right to be a fat person."


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December 30th, 2013
09:08 AM ET

Vending Machines to Display Calories

We all know that moment – it's the middle of the afternoon, your stomach is grumbling, and that vending machine full of snacks is calling your name. But what if the machine listed all the glorious calories loaded in those snacks?

Would that affect your decision?

Well, the hope is that it might.

Starting next year, about five million vending machines nationwide will be required to display calorie information as a part of Obamacare.

“The new rules apply to more than 10,000 vending machines companies nationwide that operate 20 or more machines,” reports CNN’s Christine Romans.

The result will be similar to calorie count menus in restaurants; customers will see the calories next to their snack choice.

The FDA hopes this will help consumers go for alternatives and stick to their new year’s resolutions. But the program won’t be cheap.

Romans says: “The FDA estimates it’s going cost the industry about $25.8 million, maybe $24 million every year after that.”

However the, FDA  points out that if just 0.2% of obese adults ate 100 fewer calories a week, it would save $24 million or more a year in annual health care costs.

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December 30th, 2013
08:45 AM ET

Videos Raise More Questions About Missing Michigan Doctor

Three weeks ago, Teleka Patrick disappeared.

The 30-year-old doctor in residency failed to show up for work on December 6 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The night before, police 100 miles south in Indiana found her car abandoned but not crashed in a ditch off busy I-94.

Investigators searched but came up empty.

"We looked everywhere," Sgt. Rick Strong of the Indiana State Police told CNN.

Now investigators have more potential evidence, about 20 minutes worth.

Surveillance and home videos uploaded to YouTube provide clues about Patrick's movement in the weeks, days and hours before she vanished.

In a different context, the YouTube videos might be considered sweet or romantic. They feature Patrick talking, cooing and singing to someone unnamed and apparently unknown.

Patrick's mother told CNN she wasn't aware of any romantic relationship her daughter may have had. But the videos have an intimate feel to them.

"Hi, baby," Patrick says in one. "I am just coming to you to say 'hi' and tell you about my day."

In another video, Patrick shows a table set for two with omelets and pancakes.

"If you were here, this is what would be your plate," she coos.

The two videos were posted in early November. It's not completely clear why they only drew attention now.

A third video to surface comes from a local hotel in Kalamazoo. That's where Patrick went on the night of December 5, just hours before police found her car in that ditch.

At a little past 7:30 p.m., Patrick, dressed all in black, showed up at a Radisson hotel not far from the hospital where she worked.

She spent around 10 minutes talking with employees at the reception desk but ultimately left.

There's no audio on the video, and it's not clear why Patrick failed to book a room.

But at 7:48 p.m., she strode across the hotel's tiled floors, out the door and onto a hotel shuttle bus.

Those images provide the last known picture of Patrick.

Patrick's disappearance has, from the beginning, drawn shock from many corners.

Her family says Patrick, who had just moved to Michigan, bought a plane ticket to come visit them for the holidays in Florida.

Her colleagues called her "part of our family of medical professionals."

And CNN's audience posted by the droves on iReport asking for coverage in the hopes that more information and coverage would propel the case forward.

The young doctor was described in comments as "wonderful," "beautiful" and "talented."

The newly discovered videos add to the swirl of questions surrounding this case.

Investigators have said they have no evidence of foul play, but they also don't have conclusive evidence that Patrick's movements on December 5 were voluntary.

Police brought out dogs to track Patrick's scent. They led investigators the 30 or so feet out of the ditch where Patrick's car rested to the highway. There, the trace went cold.

"We have scoured, searched and looked at everything we could possibly look at - all the exits, all the businesses, all the hotels," Strong said. "We posted fliers; we talked to neighbors (who live near the highway). We did a full-blown, on-the-ground search in the wooded area north of where the car was."

Carl Clatterback, a private investigator hired by Patrick's family, told CNN that investigators are looking into the videos. A central question: Who is Patrick talking to in the videos and does that person know anything about what happened to her?

Investigators ask anyone with information about Patrick’s whereabouts to call the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office at 269-383-8748, Indiana State Police at 219-696-6242.

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December 30th, 2013
08:28 AM ET

Top Holiday Movies: The Winners and Losers

Did you see any great movies this weekend?

It was a strong holiday turnout at the box office as "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" lead the pack for the third weekend in a row, reports CNN's Nischelle Turner. 

The family-friendly Disney hit "Frozen" came in a close second.

Watch the video above to see which movies made big bucks and which films came up short. 

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