In America many women crave for the Barbie perfect figure. The weight loss industry consists of 10 billion dollars. Yes, you read that right. 10 billion dollars invested in diets, programs, exercise machinery, etc. The fat debate has one main question. Can being overweight be healthy? I asked my class this and 50 percent said being overweight is not healthy. 70 percent of that was girls. The National Institutes of Health found that adults categorized as overweight and most of those categorized as obese have a lower mortality risk than so-called normal-weight adults. So what’s the answer? After reading an article from New York Time’s being overweight does have its benefits as putting some flesh on these statistical bones, a study found a 6 percent decrease in mortality risk among people classified as overweight and a 5 percent decrease in people classified as Grade 1 obese. So can people move on and accept that being overweight can be okay and considered beautiful? It’s not that easy.
Now that we got the medical reasoning cleared up, what about the social aspect on it? Well this is a major issue all over the world! There is major pressure on girls to look slim and slender. And the reality is that not all of us have the control over our body to make it look the way we want. To let girls accept other body figures starts from media. Magazine covers and television is full of beautiful stick thin girls with flat stomachs and a slim figure. The message that conveys to all us girls, is that thin = beautiful. We don’t have enough models and actresses out there that are overweight and chubby. The models and actresses that are overweight are immediately criticized on all magazines. Why do these magazines look down on the slightest bit of weight? I may never know. But I do know that as soon as the media considers all body types beautiful many more girls will too.
Many girls have goals. To either lose 10 pounds or get a flatter stomach. Maybe we should consider a new goal and only that goal. The goal is to be healthy. Not to run the treadmill for 3 hours and stare at our body in the mirror expecting a change but being fit and expecting to feel healthier. Too many of us want to be fit for the benefit us being skinny. We should not do things to make our body look good but do things for ourselves to be healthy and be fit.
We’re obsessed with thinness. Over time being thin has been considered high class and reflections of beauty ideals. We have an absurd fear of fat. And we seem to address the problems of obesity as a medical condition but anorexia as a social issue. We consider 130 million Americans in need of treatment or help but really many industries are making money off this mind set. Many overweight individuals do not need any medical attention. Instead of focusing on fat being the problem we should look at the true medical reasoning like heart disease, which is not always caused from being overweight.
“If we’re open-minded when we look at the data, we often find confounding factors that can explain the disease associations we blame on weight,” said Linda Bacon. She’s right. We can’t blame all the health problems in America on obesity. There many factors in why we get diseases. If we can all realize this, then we can find a real solution to health issues. Because who knows, even if the obesity percentage lowers we may still have all the diseases and illnesses we blame on weight.
This issue hasn’t been addressed enough. I hope over time there is more publicity on this topic so we can all make a change. So as a conclusion being overweight can be healthy, thinness is not always beautiful, and our goals should be to be healthy not skinny.