Health and Fitness: Obesity

Health and Fitness; we all strive to maintain both. However, since obesity has become a universal pandemic for both children and adults, there are aspects to this disease that have not been fully discussed.

The term “obesity” has an ugly connotation and for those of us who fit into this category, overweight seems to be a more accepted terminology.

For all of us who are overweight, we didn’t arbitrarily decide one day to begin a non-stop eating regimen; on the contrary. As children, our parents told us we were beautiful no matter what our size - and we believed it. While we may have played with Barbie dolls, we certainly never conceived that she was a role model either.

As teens, we began to experience the world through the eyes of our peers and it became quite clear that we were different. Still, we believed we were just as beautiful and smart as they.

It wasn’t until we reached adulthood that we became aware just how insecure we really were. Perhaps we wore dark clothing, visited stores out of our area so as not to run into anyone we knew, or perhaps we became so shy and introverted that attending social events became a painful experience.

Isn’t it ironic that now, a new commercial on TV is advertising plus size bras for women in colors other than white or black with cup sizes from B to G. All of a sudden there is a market for plus size clothing in gorgeous styles. The days of polyester pull-on pants are over.

Imagine if these styles and sizes were available when we were teens and young adults? Think of all the pain and humiliation that could have been avoided; the anxiety and stress that could have been abated; and the self-esteem and confidence these individuals had as children would have remained in tact.

While it is certainly true that obesity is not something to be proud of, nonetheless, it was used to torment children and young adults through commercials and TV shows, news reports, fashion shows and other mediums where thin was idolized.

Conversely, being too thin resulted in conditions such as bulimia, anorexia, and other eating disorders. There seemed to be no happy medium. People on opposite ends of the scale each paid a price.

Now we are at the stage in which obesity is causing more deaths than ever before. Our children are becoming morbidly obese at a younger age, and research is on-going to determine the root cause.

Even though there are a multitude of health and fitness programs such as diet and exercise plans available, there are more surgeries performed each year such as: liposuction, gastric bypass, or other forms of weight loss operations which can put individuals at risk. There is no question that for the morbidly obese, intervention is needed.

However, since diet and exercise can achieve successful weight loss for most overweight individuals, it seems that surgery has become the rule rather than the exception for those who need to lose a few pounds or wish to achieve that which has been unattainable up to now.

Too much emphasis has been placed on how we look. Yes, health and fitness is important and being overweight carries with it many health conditions that can put one at risk, but consideration should be given to those who for whatever reason, genetically or anatomically, could never be thin no matter what diet or exercise program they engage in.

The point is our society awards outward beauty and sets aside the inner beauty that lies within all of us.

Health and fitness aside, there is a bias against overweight individuals and unless – until we understand that as different as we are; we each carry a unique personality, a beauty, and a love of self – obesity will continue to have an ugly connotation.

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