All Articles Tagged "overweight"
According to a new Canadian study, published today, the idea that you can be obese or overweight and healthy isn’t necessarily true, because most people aren’t thinking about their health down the line.
The study, conducted by Dr. Ravi Retnakaran of the University of Toronto used more than 61, 000 people and followed the differences found between obese or overweight people and slimmer folks when it comes to their health and the risks they might face for heart attacks, strokes and death. Following up with those individuals after a decade, “those who were overweight or obese but didn’t have high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes still had a 24 percent increased risk for heart attack, stroke and death over 10 years or more, compared with normal-weight people.”
Dr. Renakaran had this to say about his findings:
“These data suggest that increased body weight is not a benign condition, even in the absence of metabolic abnormalities, and argue against the concept of healthy obesity or benign obesity.
We found that metabolically healthy obese individuals are indeed at increased risk for death and cardiovascular events over the long term as compared with metabolically healthy normal-weight individuals.”
Of course, many people often say that just because they aren’t small in size doesn’t automatically make them unhealthy. There is some truth to that. According to David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, not all weight gain is harmful. And skinny people with metabolic health problems like high blood pressure or high cholesterol can be at even higher risk for the heart attacks, strokes and more than bigger folks. But still, both men claim it’s possible that “metabolically healthy” individuals actually just have risk factors at a lower level that can and will get worse as time passes if not controlled.
“It depends partly on genes, partly on the source of calories, partly on activity levels, partly on hormone levels. Weight gain in the lower extremities among younger women tends to be metabolically harmless; weight gain as fat in the liver can be harmful at very low levels.”
Katz went on to say that once you gain weight in your liver, that’s when you can really end up at high risk for heart attacks, strokes and death.
“In particular, fat in the liver interferes with its function and insulin sensitivity. This starts a domino effect. Insensitivity to insulin causes the pancreas to compensate by raising insulin output. Higher insulin levels affect other hormones in a cascade that causes inflammation. Fight-or-flight hormones are affected, raising blood pressure. Liver dysfunction also impairs blood cholesterol levels.”
All in all, the men say that they are all for people focusing on eating healthier and exercising rather than pushing to meet a certain weight. As Katz says, “Lifestyle practices conducive to weight control over the long term are generally conducive to better overall health as well. I favor a focus on finding health over a focus on losing weight.”
I personally don’t sit around stressing myself out over my BMI, but I know that I need to take better care of myself when it comes to what I eat in order to look out for myself (I write this as I eat Nutter Butters, but I’m heading to the gym tonight!). I might think I’m healthy now, but that doesn’t mean my own weight struggles won’t negatively impact me in the long term, but it’s all a process, right?
Although there is a common belief that the earlier you give birth, the easier it is for your body to “bounce back,” a recent study suggests that this may not be true, The Huffington Post reports.
The study actually suggests that teen pregnancy may raise risks of obesity.
“We know that teen pregnancy is tied to certain immediate risks, such as babies having low birth weight and mothers struggling to complete high school — and now we know that it is also associated with poor long-term health outcomes,” said Dr. Tammy Chang, a researcher who worked on the study.
“When taking care of teen moms, we often have so many immediate concerns — child care, housing, school, social and financial support — that we don’t often think of the long term health effects of teen pregnancy,” Chang continued.
The study was conducted on 5,520 women between the ages of 20 and 59. It compares those who gave birth in their teens to those who had not. Researchers analyzed the data and placed each woman into a group of either being a normal weight (with a body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9), overweight (with a BMI between 25 and 29.9) or obese (with a BMI higher over 30).
The survey revealed that 44.2% of the women who gave birth in their teens were obese, while 35.2% of the women who gave birth after 19 were obese.
The study did not find a huge difference between the groups of women who fell into the overweight category, but it did find that fewer women who gave birth in their teens fell into the normal weight category. Only 26.1% of participants who had children in their teenage years were found to be in the normal weight group.
Researchers went on to note that there is an association between teen pregnancy and obesity, but that does’t necessarily mean that teen pregnancy causes obesity.
When I first started on my weight loss journey after having my daughter, I remember updating one of my sisters on my progress. After I hit the 15 pound loss mark she was excited for me. Though she was happy, I couldn’t really embrace it because I felt that even though I had made a dent in the large amount of padding that was on my body, it wouldn’t be good enough because to the outside world I was still fat. Plan and simple. Until my body went back to its normal size, I felt worried that every pound or inch loss would be in vain until reaching my coveted size before being seen as appropriate to the public.
Recently, we’ve discussed the increase of “fat shaming” in the world, from insensitive quotes, airlines contemplating to over charge overweight individuals, and the discrepancy of pay wages based on weight. There is even an article on The Huffington Post where a woman addresses the discrimination that she felt by her boss over her size and how she was forced to quit. While discussing this with one of my best friends she tried to encourage me with: “Well, you might not be at the size that you’re comfortable yet, but at least you still have a pretty face.”
Maybe it’s because with the increase of our social media, that requires people to use a photograph of themselves that is causing people to become more image conscious. But all of this made me wonder, which is the lesser of the two, being over weight, or being unattractive?
So let’s discuss this weight thing. I remember when we posted the article on Tyrese‘s criticism on overweight individuals, and reading the comment section and some of you all were going IN on dude. But, it made me remember the comments on the airplane wage suggestion of having obese flyers to “pay what you weigh,” and there were many people who agreed with it (making me feel that people might have agreed more with Tyrese than what they wanted to put on). It seems that the common thread of how people saw obese and overweight people were that the discrimination was warranted due to the fact that for most people it’s a controllable condition with a solution.
But does that mean that unattractiveness is something that can be forgiven? Now me, personally, I don’t believe that anyone is ugly, because beauty is subjective. Even if you don’t find someone attractive, there are others that do. We see this all the time. Things that have been criticized on black women (big lips, hips, and butt) have been celebrated on more European figures. Also, if I have to gauge someone else’s beauty then I have to gauge my own, and honestly, I’m too sensitive to try to figure out if I’m pretty or not. But, there are certain facial features that almost universally convey trust and appeal to others (which is why in cartoon movies, all the villains tend to look alike). Things like how far set your eyes are, how symmetrical your face is, the shape of your face, and for men, the appearance of facial hair has also played a part in wage differences.
But with each factor, weight, and your perceived attractiveness seems to play a part in how people treat you. Is it right? No. People should be treated by their character, and usually that ends up happening… after you get to know someone. However, sometimes you have to endure people judging you and your abilities on superficial reasons. People can assume horrible things about you, whether you’re overweight, thin, attractive, or not regarded as so. But, let’s have an open discussion, readers. What do you think that society, or you yourself favor? Do you feel you treat one better than the other?
When you consider how long Tyrese Gibson has been in the entertainment industry, one would think that by now he’d know how to offer “politically correct” answers in place of responses that might be perceived as offensive. Or possibly he has learned and simply doesn’t care. During a recent interview with All Hip Hop, the 34-year-old singer-turned-actor-turned-author was asked asked if he felt responsible as an entertainer to “inspire people to live healthier lifestyles.” While the question seemed pretty general, the “Stay” singer offered a pretty harsh response.
“No two situations are the same. If you are fat and n*sty and you don’t like the way you look, do something about it. It’s simple,” he responded.
“When you take a shower and you put your fat, n*sty body in the shower and by the time you get out, the mirrors are all steamed up so you don’t look at what you did to yourself. That may sound offensive or insensitive but ultimately, you are big as hell because you have earned that sh**. You worked your a** off to eat everything in sight to get big as hell,” Gibson continued.
“If you got a problem with the way you look, then you need to do something about it. Excuses sound best to the people that’s making them up,” he finished.
While there may be some truth to Gibson’s statement, as the motivation for any lifestyle change generally begins within, his delivery was all wrong and comes off a bit insensitive. As you may have guessed, his comments didn’t sit too well with some fans and his Twitter mentions have been filled with people criticizing him for his comments. In turn, the singer took to his Twitter page to offer an apology for his style of delivery and rebuke media outlets for “twisting” his words.
What is your opinion on his comments? Is he simply offering tough love or was he totally out of line?
By Christie Mims
You are sitting at your desk, buried under work, and you are exhausted. So you reach for a can of soda, or a leftover cupcake from the company lunch, and eat it mindlessly as you click through your email.
As you get dressed the next day, you zip up your pants and think to yourself “Oh nooooo…my job is making me fat!”
Sure, you can argue about long work hours, loads of stress, no time to finish your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight (remember that?). You can easily just blame your job.
We’ve all been there, trying to finish up a project before the next meeting and eating whatever is leftover in the break room for lunch. Or coming home exhausted and surviving on a diet of caffeine instead of sleep. You aren’t alone in feeling like your job is (literally!) a weight around your neck.
But the truth is that your job has nothing to do with it.
Your job isn’t grabbing a cupcake and shoving it in your mouth (for a long time, I was convinced my job was purposely buying cake…you know, just to mess with me!), it isn’t skipping workouts and making you chose a burger over a salad at lunch.
Read more on YourTango.com.
It happened while shopping at a local boutique during my freshman year of college. At the time she was a size 14 and I was a 4. For some reason, that day she decided to try on clothes in the petite section. I was confused, but I continued trying on clothes.
She kept eyeing a teeny bra and panties set and I thought, “No way. I know she’s not.” But she did. She picked up the set and fawned over how cute the lace was and said she was buying it. I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing and continued trying on clothes. With no warning, she looked at me as I awkwardly stumbled out of the dressing room wearing what I hoped would finally be the perfect dress for whichever event we were going to.
“Ugh, you make me sick you skinny b***h.”
It stunned me at first. I had the kind of relationship with my friends where we could insult each other lovingly and never take it to heart. But this. This was something else entirely. She gave a half-hearted smile and chuckle but she looked a confusing mash-up of angry and sad. Back then I thought too much of myself as we so often do and I took offense, discussing the issue with friends to make myself feel better as they coddled me with the, “She’s just jealous,” speech. What I know now is that it was more about her than it was about me.
Self-doubt, ESPECIALLY when it comes to physical beauty drives us to comparison in absolutely illogical ways and then throws us down into the muck of despair when we don’t measure up to whatever ludicrous standard we’ve set ourselves up against. But instead of accurately and honestly assessing where we are and then putting in the sweat (literally) to get where we want to be, it’s so much easier to give intense side-eye to that young woman who spends three hours daily in the gym and watches what she eats. It’s so much easier to call a slimmer woman (by metabolism – something almost completely uncontrollable) a “skinny b***h” without knowing her story. Did you know she may be battling an eating disorder brought on by physical and/or mental abuse? Or that perhaps she has a rarely high metabolism and intensely low self-esteem and tries desperately to gain weight to avoid criticism? You don’t know because you never asked. You never asked because you assumed that she thought she was “all that.” And we’re (skinny girls) supposed to take that?
If it’s rude or inappropriate for me to call an overweight woman a “fat, moon-faced heifer” then it’s equally inappropriate for someone to look at my 105-pound frame and jeer “Anorexic, skinny b***h!” or assume that I’m purposely missing meals to stay small. I get it; life is unfair. Boo hoo. Society is full of double standards, all of which coddle one group and leave its opposite open to criticism and cruel treatment that often lead to unfair resentment and hidden insecurities.
Though I wasn’t always comfortable in my body and I still deal with insecurities about it, it has become clear that acceptance is a useful tool in moving through life. Well, acceptance and a staunch refusal to bite my tongue when confronted about my weight. I learned to brush off the backhanded remarks about my size by larger women when I understood that I had nothing to apologize for. As if the fifteen or twenty pounds tipping another woman’s scale were somehow caused by my innately high metabolism. Really?
Society has really screwed us up. It has skewed our perception of what healthy looks like and driven home the lucrative “Try this and lose weight!” campaign year after year on the front of every glossy magazine in the checkout, in every aggravating commercial featuring that annoying celebrity, with pills, supplements, exercise regimens, crash diets and surgery. So, we clamor for that elusive perfect shape (yes, even the thinnest of us) and compare ourselves to those who we feel have reached that goal in our place. “In our place.” As if another woman’s physique decides the beauty, or lack their of, of our own. The result of that kind of ridiculous comparison is misguided self-doubt, insecurity and unfortunately, for many, lashing out to cope. I get the psychology behind it. Truly. But it’s no excuse to be mean.
I am not pleading the case of skinny girls. I am defending everyone who falls on the other side of any number of double standards, through the cracks, and gets lost there. Thinner women are subconsciously taught to be ashamed of their size and never to complain whilst we deal with an array of problems ranging from health to clothing that others deem trivial/silly. How crazy is that? Though I do struggle daily with lurking insecurities about my weight, that doesn’t give me license to belittle someone who is larger – nor would I ever want it to.
“Be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Philo
Though the struggle may not be overt; though the struggle may not look like yours; though you may not understand it – accept the fact that everyone has a struggle.
We have to stop thinking of ourselves in terms of everyone else. We’re doing more damage to our own psyches and self-view than the best marketers and advertisers ever could. Thin or thick – healthiness is beauty and THAT is the only standard to which we should ever strive to measure up.
La Truly’s writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Check her out on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
As I sit and stare down at my laptop writing this article the pudge peeking from below my tank top serves as an unwelcome reminder that I am getting older and my metabolism isn’t what it used to be. Although the workings of weight gain and loss are quite complex, simply put most doctors agree that as we age our bodies tend to lose muscle and as we lose muscle our metabolism tends to decrease. What does that mean for me? It means in order for me to maintain this size 3 waist I may finally have to admit that the pickles on my Big Mac don’t count as a vegetable and stop counting my ten minute walk to the train as a workout.
For many women big and small, weight consumes their world. But the only reason I ever watched my waistline was to put the belt through the loops on my skinny jeans. It’s true; I’m the evil skinny woman that Monique threw shade at in Skinny Women Are Evil: Notes of a Big Girl in a Small-Minded World which some would argue doesn’t encourage self-confidence but excuses an unhealthy lifestyle by throwing around phrases such as “fabulous and thick.“ At 5’2” and 115 pounds, I wasn’t offended. Us skinny girls have our own problems, but don’t blame me for being genetically blessed. And it’s not that I don’t think big girls are beautiful. Are you kidding me? If you tune in for 15 minutes of 106 and Park you’ll be bombarded with images of voluptuous backsides bouncing beneath trial size waistlines. Most of the girls glorified by our culture don’t look like Monique, but they don’t necessarily look like my no-hips-having behind either.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t painfully aware of the fact that petite privilege exists. It’s why employers typically hire pretty, thin woman as administrative assistants rationalizing, “They’re the first image that introduces a client to the company,” as if being pretty and skinny means that you’re a competent employee (if that even really matters). I first became aware of the fact that these judgments came naturally to me when I noticed I instinctively breathed through my mouth on the bus whenever a bigger person sat near me. We’ve rendered fat people as the scapegoats for every social group’s flaws. We automatically associate obesity with odor, poor hygiene and a lack of self-control…and that’s completely foul. Still, the first step is recognizing that you have a problem and I recognize my way of thinking about weight is seriously flawed.
Amber Riley opens up about the unfair beauty standards in Hollywood in a new MTV series, This Is How I Made It. It takes a closer look at how some of Tinseltown’s biggest and brightest made it to the top. But the Glee star admits her rise to fame was a bit rocky. In fact, she says she encountered a number of setbacks, including directors encouraging her to shed pounds. But Riley refused.
“Hollywood is a very hard place to be in,” said a tearful Riley. “It really is. Being the person I am you know, the size I am, being a woman, being a black woman, there’s not a lot of roles for us.” The actress turned down roles that didn’t fit who she was—including anything that contained negative images of plus size women.
Check out what Amber had to say about some of her harsh auditions at ESSENCE.
While you were sleeping in this Labor Day morning, the TODAY show was taking a look at a new retail trend in girls clothing. The increasing number of overweight children in the U.S. and the higher number of girls who are simply growing bigger and taller at a younger age has prompted more stores to carry “plus-size” girls clothing.
According to the report from the show’s consumer correspondent Janice Lieberman, larger-sized children’s clothing has always been around. And for boys, it’s typically called “husky.” But for young girls, finding stylish clothes is difficult. Sears, Gap, Children’s Place and other stores are responding to the need. Sears has a “Pretty Plus” line for girls between the ages of seven and 12. Other retailers are offering bigger sizing for girls as young as three, most of it online.
In the studio interview, Morgan Joseph, an 11-year-old who is already 5′ 9″ tall, talked about the troubles she’s had shopping for clothes, noting that she even had a problem finding an outfit to wear on the show that would fit and be “age appropriate.” Sitting beside her mother Sharon, she said she plans on launching her own line of clothing.
“I don’t want [other kids] to go through what I had to go through,” she said at one point.
She also has a problem with the term “plus size.”
“I don’t really enjoy the word ‘plus,’” she said. “I think there should just be numbers like they do for other kids.”
With back-to-school shopping happening later this year, there are probably a lot of parents out there still grappling with this issue as well. Across all age groups, retailers have found value in selling plus-size clothing with more stores and brands — like H&M and The Limited — offering larger sizes. The Los Angeles Times quotes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says more than a third of Americans are obese and nearly two-thirds of women are overweight. At least half of women wear a size 14 or larger. As a result, this is a growing segment of the retail industry, with sales expected to reach about $7.5 billion this year.
Parents, schools and politicians are fighting the growing childhood obesity issue. School lunches coming under greater scrutiny and more emphasis being placed on exercise and the health problems that arise for children who’ve put on a lot of weight. But, as the segment shows, it’s not just an issue with obesity. Some kids just grow quickly.
Do you agree with Morgan that retailers should use a different term? Should “plus-size” clothing come under a different name?
Over the weekend Alice Randall wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times on black women and fat, simply titled just that. If you haven’t noticed, articles on this topic are becoming about as abundant as ones on black women being single and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. Anyway, Randall plainly states that “many black women are fat because we want to be” and goes on to rehash the oft-expressed notion of black women preferring to have a little more meat on their bones as evidenced through her personal experience of praying for fat thighs as a little girl and knowing many men, her husband included, who have a panic attack the minute their woman drops below 200 pounds.
It’s evident right from the beginning that Randall is not aware of the difference of having rounder hips or a bigger backside and actually being fat, overweight, obese, or in any other physically plump state as a black women that has caught headlines recently, but that’s a far more frustratingly minor point in the overgeneralized and exaggerated prose.
Beyond the aesthetic appeal of a fuller body, Randall says African American women subscribe to being fat, black, and happy as some form of political statement. Quoting Andrea Elizabeth Shaw’s book, The Embodiment of Disobedience: Fat Black Women’s Unruly Political Bodies, Randall too argues that the fat black woman’s body “functions as a site of resistance to both gendered and racialized oppression.” She writes:
“By contextualizing fatness within the African diaspora, she invites us to notice that the fat black woman can be a rounded opposite of the fit black slave, that the fatness of black women has often functioned as both explicit political statement and active political resistance.”
As a heavier black woman who just dropped 22 pounds and has several more to go I can tell you, it ain’t that deep. But if it was, then why do we feel the need to defend it?
Every time another study comes out about obesity in America or black women’s happiness being heavy, a slew of articles come out explaining why we’re bigger than white women and why we’re okay with that. It seems to me if we were really okay with it, there’d be no need to explain anything. I get that sometimes some of these studies feel like yet another attack on black women and we want to let “them” know we’re not falling for it, but the truth is we all know that when researchers point out the alarming rates of black women who are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese we know good and well they’re not talking about having a little something extra in all the “right” places, they’re talking about significant pounds that become a health concern and defense against that is not easily justifiable—particularly if the case for a heavier body is to please black men that I thought didn’t want black women anyway. Do we not realize how ridiculous it sounds to say black women are okay putting themselves at risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and a zillion other illnesses to have a black man dish out a heavy dose of street harassment that we’re probably going to begrudgingly be subjected to in the first place? The thing is we’re not doing ourselves any favors by offering up this overgeneralized reasoning to the masses, especially because I’m more inclined to think black women are heavier not just “because they want to be” but because most of us haven’t had positive eating and exercise examples as a child.
The most frustrating part about Randall’s article is that after explaining why women want to be fat she moves into “WE need to change” and puts less than half the effort into encouraging women to actually get under 200 pounds or lose “the 10 percent of our body weight that often results in a 50 percent reduction in diabetes risk” than she did outlining all the reasons they “happily” got there in the first place. I’m thrilled at the confidence black women can display at any size and I don’t think we need to explain it as if it’s a state of mind we shouldn’t have. The more we attempt the justify it, the less secure with it we actually seem, and though that’s not such a bad thing either, we’re sending conflicting messages that don’t serve any positive purpose. As I’ve said before, not hating yourself because you’re not a size 2 and not caring about carrying extra weight are hardly the same thing but when articles like this come about it just adds to the stereotype that all black women are overweight and that we’re all intentionally overweight for cultural reasons. That line of thinking doesn’t make us sound much better than white women starving themselves to be thin to conform to their own beauty ideals. Let’s stop substituting one stereotype for another to justify something we say we’re okay with and start focusing on the real issue and the real problem: our physical health.
Do you think most black women are overweight because they really want to be?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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