A recent trend in advertising has encouraged the idea that “fat is sexy,” depicting plus-sized models as courageous. Although strengthening the self-esteem of millions of overweight Americans is a worthy cause, this fad may worsen the obesity epidemic currently faced in the U.S. and other Western societies. With thousands of people per year hospitalized or dying from obesity-related health complications, citizens must rethink their outlook on the trend.
Plus-sized models increase public acceptability of heavier bodies and encourage individuals to pursue unhealthy routines, claims John Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University. A recent study by Nature may support Banzhaf’s assertions, as scientists found that normalizing obesity may contribute to its existence among the general populace. The researchers recorded methods of normalization including the popularization of the term “curvy” in place of “fat.”
Furthermore, they note that physicians have proven unsuccessful in explaining to patients that their size is harmful to their wellbeing. The survey estimated that only 50% of overweight subjects were trying to lose weight. Many, especially men, were unlikely to view their physique as a hazard. Awareness is a prerequisite for pursuing health.
Banzhaf argues that since tobacco use has been banned from ads, smoking rates have significantly decreased. Likewise, he claims that the media must consider refusing to “feature and glamorize” obese women, although the prevalence of positive images may strengthen their self-esteem. Ignorance of the connection between the condition and health concerns may be the product of such advertisements.
In fact, former plus-sized model Renee Biran recently appeared on the television network TLC during the show “My 600-lb Life” in which she faced debilitating illness due to her weight. She communicated her belief that she had made grave mistakes in her previous career by encouraging obesity and is now an advocate for a nutritious, active lifestyle.
According to the CDC, the medical costs of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. are about $147 billion annually, including an annual nationwide expense of work absenteeism between $3.38 billion and $6.38 billion.
As previously reported by Liberty Nation, 90% of males, 80% of females, and 50% of children in the U.S. have excess body fat, increasing the risk of disease. Researchers note that the condition may cause nervous system inflammation, depression, cancer, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and other serious illnesses; NAFLD is projected to become the leading cause of liver transplants by 2020.
Many medical schools are enacting coursework to instruct future doctors on how to interact with overweight patients. LN also notes that 50% of deaths that occur from heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes are related to poor diet. With physicians becoming increasingly skilled in teaching others, the lifespan of Americans may rise, as suggested by the CDC.
Although many agree that fighting the obesity epidemic is a worthy cause, some feel that such actions exhibit “microaggressions” and “fat shaming.” A psychology professor presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association just last year, claiming that doctors exhibit microaggressions to some patients by blatantly notifying them that their weight is of concern.
Medical professionals are responsible for encouraging beneficial living standards. Acknowledgment of the fact that a combination of lack of exercise and poor diet may have consequences should not be a danger to the wellbeing of sane individuals. In contrast, due to lack of nutritional education from physicians, many continue with harmful eating habits and feelings of hopelessness about achieving fitness as they pursue “fad diets,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
Although prohibiting plus-size modeling from advertisements would be an extreme measure, the population should be informed on how to lead healthful lifestyles. Doing so will contribute to increased longevity and progress for society.
What are the thoughts of our readers? Should obese models be banned from advertisements or is this just government interference?