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IS OBESITY A SWEAR WORD?

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By Noelle Walker at New Fitness Personal Training

obesity

Is Obesity a swear word? According to the fat acceptance and body positivity groups it is. You can’t say the word without these groups telling you it is fat shaming and discriminatory. The reality is, is that Obesity is a very serious medical condition which affects thousands if not millions of people all over the world. It can and will most likely lead to major illness like Heart Disease and Heart Attacks. 

WHAT IS OBESITY?

Let’s talk about what Obesity really is. The clinical definition of Obesity is: Overweight and obesity occur when excess fat accumulation (regionally, globally, or both) increases risk to health. It is the point at which health risk is increased that is most important because, as covered below, body weights and fat distributions that lead to expression of co-morbid diseases occur at different thresholds depending on the population.

Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279167/

Now that we have got that out of the way. The mere definition says it all. It’s when a person gains so much weight that it becomes a health risk to that person. It is not shaming anyone or causing discrimination. It is a state of being. What we need to determine though is when does a person become obese? How much overweight does the person need to be? Medical professionals still use BMI as an indicator. For very lean and muscular people this is not ideal but they wouldn’t be categorized as obese anyway. Another method that I personally like is the waist circumference. This can be used for anyone and is applicable in every situation. So in order to be considered Obese a woman would have a waist circumference of greater than 35 inches and for men, a waist of circumference of greater than 40 inches. See website listed above for more detailed information and the studies completed to prove this statement.

OBESITY AND THE FAT ACCEPTANCE COMMUNITY

Obesity is on the rise. It has gone from 30 percent in the year 2000 to 40 percent in 2016 and is growing. Why is that? My guess and this is only a guess, is it’s because of radical fat acceptance groups who believe there is health at every size despite the contradictory evidence that is everywhere to prove that there is not health at every size. As a personal trainer this has me worried and frankly pretty pissed off. This is a dangerous statement to make and is simply untrue. It has been proven time and time again that if you gain a lot of weight especially in your midsection, you are at risk of disease. And I don’t mean just average risk, I mean you are at high risk for disease such as Diabetes, Heart Disease, Heart Attack and Hypertension. 

BODY POSITIVITY

The Fat Acceptance and Health At Every Size groups will have you believe that this is all about body positvity. And while I agree that there are different shapes and sizes to everybody and no one should be made to feel like they need to have a perfect body, everyone should aim for optimal health if they can help it. Obesity can and has been cured. All a person needs to do in order to go from Obese to non obese is to decrease their body fat by 5-10%. Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3539294/  This is for everyone except an extremely small percentage of people who have health problems such as Cushing Disease causing their Obesity. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cushings-syndrome/

Body positivity’s origin does lie in fat acceptance. It started in the 1960’s as a movement to combat fat shaming. It originated because people were being discriminated for their size. So a group of people got together and decided to shine light on this particular problem. After this was exposed and gained a lot of attention in social media, the fat acceptance communities decided to use this for their advantage and took on the name to advance their agenda. This is no longer about decreasing discrimination or fat shaming, this is about people denying the truth that they are at risk for death. This is about having an excuse to shame lean and healthy people just to make themselves feel better. It’s toxic and dangerous. 

GET REAL AND GET HEALTHY

This is the part when I get a little preachy and say ignore all the noise about fat acceptance, fat phobia and the rest and think about how you are going to live the rest of your life. If you are obese right now or overweight, do you want to spend the rest of your life huffing and puffing as you go up the stairs? Do you want to be able to do stuff with your kids or even fit into that dress you’ve been eyeing? It’s healthy and normal to want all these things. Don’t feel ashamed because you want to drop some bodyfat and live a healthy life. 

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