92 Pearl Street, Newton, MA 02458 617-558-1881 www.medainc.org Weightism and the Myths of Obesity ٭Weightism Weightism is discrimination and/or prejudice against overweight individuals. Fat people are rated as less likeable, perceived to have fewer romantic relationships, are less likely to be hired, and receive lower wages. Discrimination, in the United States, against overweight people has significantly increased in the last ten years. ٭Negative Attitudes and Prejudices People often develop negative attitudes and prejudices towards others based on the American value of individual responsibility. Fat people are seen as responsible for their weight; resulting in negative evaluations of fat people. ٭Obesity Myths #1: You can’t be overweight and healthy According to recent studies, being overweight and active is healthier than being thin and sedentary. Weight is not a primary determinant in a person’s health. #2: Obesity will shorten life expectancy There is no scientific evidence to support this statement. Much of the media and politicians emphasize facts from unreliable studies to benefit the diet, food and pharmaceutical industries. Obesity is not an independent predictor of mortality. #3: Overeating is the primary cause of obesity Studies show that inactivity may be a more influential factor in weight gain versus overeating. In addition, many people who are overweight or obese are predisposed.
#4: It’s a person’s own fault if he or she is fat. It’s just a matter of self-control Diets do not work. Ninety-five percent of people who diet gain back the weight they lost or more within 3 years. Heredity and a history of yo-yo dieting can cause many people to become even larger. #5: Fat people are ugly Beauty is a culturally constructed and learned concept. It is not better and more beautiful to be thin or worse and uglier to be fat. Each individual is beautiful and unique. * Healthy Fat A woman’s body fat should range between 20% and 27%. Lower levels of body fat can impair a person’s health. * Too Little Fat Not having enough fat can also be unhealthy. Dieting and body fat loss can cause: Headaches Dizziness Fatigue Abdominal pain Decrease in bone density Amenorrhea (missing at least 3 consecutive menstrual cycles) Two types of body fat: Essential Storage Women carry up to 4 times more essential fat than men for reproductive and hormone related functions * What’s wrong with this picture? 81% of 10 year old girls are afraid of being fat 35% of dieters develop pathological dieting 20-25% of pathological dieters develop a partial or full-blown eating disorder As American culture endorses an unrealistic body ideal people are taught to constantly strive to be thinner Body fat has a negative connotation inAmerican society, but fat is critical to the proper functions of the body!