Oct 232005

Thirty-four percent of the U.S. population is obese and another 60 percent of the population after that is overweight. That is a staggering fact, but we should not judge individuals based on their weight and percentage of body fat. Addressing those two issues doesn't solve the problem.

Judgments and assumptions about overweight and possibly obese individuals do nothing but deter individual progress and is harmful to both the individual afflicted and society as a whole. There are many reasons why an individual might be obese or overweight; examples can include genetics, eating disorders, as well as bone and joint problems.

It is not enough to just say we choose poor foods or are sedentary. Instead of assuming the reasons why people are obese, our society needs to understand all the underlying implications and work to create healthier lives – not destroy them through ridicule.

Obesity is not the only disorder that affects Americans. The question that should be asked is not "Why are Americans so fat?" but rather "Why are Americans obsessed with perfection?" Why is it more acceptable to be unhealthy, possibly suffering from an eating disorder, with a jean size of 00, than to have a few extra pounds but be healthy?

Isn't "fat" simply in the eye of the beholder? In the United States right now 1 of 100 women suffers from anorexia, 4 of 100 suffer from bulimia and nearly 54 percent of American women suffer from some form of eating disorder. Binge eating is also more prevalent than some might think, infecting nearly 2 million women AND MEN.

How did this come to be acceptable in our society? Media advertisements show the bodies of sculpted celebrities and starved models as the desired body type and Americans, excuse the pun, eat it up. When looking at that picture of the petite women we see in all 1,000 words it is worth, "thin is beautiful." The average healthy woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and 145 pounds, but the idol we are told to be like is Barbie, who is 6 feet tall and only 110 pounds. If she were real, she would fall over.

Talking about how fat is disgusting is not going to turn Americans into healthier people, nor is it going to encourage any individual suffering from eating disorders. Obesity is a disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and should be addressed as such. We need to start asking deeper questions, such as why do individuals overeat, why do some like sedentary behavior, why is it okay to look at a person a little overweight and be disgusted with them, why do women feel the need to damage their bodies so they can fit into society's view of beautiful, and why do people judge a person simply based on their looks and think that is okay? Perhaps that is the problem.

Alexis Hickox


business administration

Chris Schlag


environmental health science

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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