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Can You Support the Fat Acceptance Movement?

This morning on the Today Show, they did a segment on the “Fat Acceptance Movement:” A movement towards increasing acceptance of those who are extremely overweight.  Some may argue that this is a “cop-out” or an excuse to be fat, while others say that it is a movement towards accepting yourself as you are.

During the segment there were a few points that I think are worth mentioning:

  • Extremism: The reporter stated, “Not everyone subscribes to the theory that life is best lived hungry and constantly inside the gym.”  These kinds of statements are exactly what discourage people from living at a healthy weight.  If you eat right and are active…you don’t have to be so extreme to always “live hungry and inside the gym.”  Let’s get back to moderation.
  • Obesity vs. Inactivity: One of the doctors interviewed stated that she believes there really isn’t an obesity epidemic, as much as an inactivity epidemic. For instance, there are people who are thin and appear to fall into a healthy BMI range who are extremely inactive.  However, on the flip side, there are overweight people who are highly active. Which is better? Personally, I’d argue that the overweight person who is highly active is more healthy than the thin person who doesn’t get their butt off the couch.
  • Degree of Overweight is What Matters: Let’s face it, there is a big difference between being 5 – 10 pounds overweight versus 50 to 70 pounds overweight. I would argue that although there are rare cases of a person carrying 50 extra pounds being in good health, more often than not, that individual has or will have more health issues than an individual who is 5 – 10 pounds overweight. So really, is it productive to have a “Fat Acceptance Movement?” Or, should we be pushing for a “Happy to Be in My Skin Movement.”
  • REAL Acceptance?: Dr. Snyderman provides a real life personal question of how accepting we really are: If you are on an airplane and an obese person gets on…would you think to yourself: “Please don’t sit next to me”?

What do you think?  Do you think that a Fat Acceptance Movement is an excuse for people to be obese or do you think it is a great idea?

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Fitness, Nutrition Tagged with: , , , , , ,
  • LM

    I don’t think the fat acceptance movement is an “excuse to be fat”, but rather a desperate attempt to feel good about something which damages one’s social and physical well-being. You can’t fault someone for wanting to feel good about his or herself; that’s human nature.

    On the other hand we’ve now seen numerous studies supporting the fact that having overweight friends makes one more accepting of their own weight gain. And the emphasis in the 1980s and 1990s on accepting weight gain in the schools, in order not to trigger anorexic behaviors, has resulted in today’s high schoolers walking around and accepting weights that if not already unhealthy, very soon will be.

    Being overweight should be accepted like any other addictive behavior. Some of us are lucky enough not to have the genes to get hooked on cigarettes, or alcohol or excessive food consumption, others are not. And realistically, once overweight, you are unlikely to loose that weight.

    But what isn’t acceptable, is taking childhood weight gain in stride. That is the only realistic time to battle this problem, and teaching our kids its OK to be 5 or 10 lbs overweight, is setting them up for adult obesity and early death.

    Why are obesity and anorexia rising at the same time? Obesity scares the shit out of teenage girls. It’s a very real, well founded fear. The more obesity, the more there is to fear. Telling girls its OK to be 10 lbs overweight at 15 is a lie they can see right through.

    But we don’t want to tackle the real solutions. Smaller portions…and not in the individual’s control. “Just eat less” is a nice idea, but obviously hasn’t worked. This is humanity we’re talking about, not robots whose logic follows a neat tight programming language.

    We have to create an environment in which people are forced (yes, I do mean that) to walk more and eat less. We need calorie caps on restaurant meals, junk food regulation and cities built for pedestrians.

    The alternative is to wait for evolution. Because the obese have much lower odds of reproducing (less likely to be selected as mates, and if selected, more likely to have fertility problems). This will take a few generations, but eventually it will even out.

    The choice is which route to take to combat obesity?

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