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The Social Stigma of Being Obese
Worldwide obesity rates are higher than they have ever been before and are consistently climbing further. While obesity can be looked upon as a medical condition, there are heavy psychological burdens associated with it as well. The social stigma of obesity often causes those who are obese to dislike themselves and become reclusive. This can lead to social alienation, dangerous levels of anxiety and chronic depression. Additionally, there are uncountable health risks associated with obesity that require serious consideration.
There is a widespread stereotype directed at the obese in many societies across the planet. Obese people are looked upon as lazy, unsightly, lacking health and lacking willpower. Further, those who are obese have a greater probability to be limited in social class. They are also far less likely to ever be married. Additionally, obese people are very likely to experience discrimination of the following types:
- Entrance to college
- Acceptance to various social events
- And many more…
Obesity is a condition of having too much body fat. Although it really has nothing to do with one’s weight, it is most often the case that obese people are overweight as well. The most commonly accepted method for determining obesity in a given individual is to measure their body mass index or BMI. According to The National Center for Health Statistics, a BMI rating of 27.3 determines obesity in women and a rating of 27.8 classifies the men.
The causes of obesity:
While it is true that obesity can result because of psychosocial problems and/or various medical conditions, the fact is that most people become obese as a result of chronically improper dietary choices and lacking physical activity levels. In fact, health professionals in America classify over 25% of the population as “completely sedentary”. Obviously, obesity is a serious issue for public health as it is directly correlated to many cases of morbidity and death.
Health risks associated with obesity
Obesity is a primary factor in the development and onset of nearly every preventable disease known. By lessening obesity and maintaining a healthy weight level, individuals significantly reduce their probabilities for developing all of the following health disorders:
- Heart disease
- Various types of cance
- Diabetes mellitus type II
- High LDL cholesterol levels
- Sclerosis of the liver
- Kidney disorders and failure
- Bone and joint disorders
- And so many more…
It’s obvious that most obese people would like to become more fit. They know that they would look better, feel better and be able to perform more efficiently in all areas of life. However, for so many people, leading a fit and trim lifestyle is a very difficult undertaking, especially when they are already obese to begin with. Many times, obese people feel helpless. They may give much energy towards trying to eat right and the more physically active, but their attempts continually fail. There are many reasons for these failures including:
- Lacking education about human nutrition
- The ready availability of fast foods, bleached foods, processed foods, prepared foods, microwave foods, foods high in saturated and trans fats, high sugar foods and so many other foods that are of empty nutritional value
- Technological advancements that make regular physical activity less of a practical necessity
- Fear of chastisement from other members of society
The social stigma of obesity damages the self-esteem levels of those who are obese. So called “fit” people all too commonly make fun of the obese without any consideration to the complexity of their individual conditions. There is no thought given to the obese individual’s situation or totally unique medical make-up. Childish fun is poked at the obese with no regards to their feelings – and it hurts them.
As obesity rates continue to climb worldwide, it becomes more necessary to exercise compassion and to help to increase education levels concerning human nutrition. The best place to begin the journey is in recognizing the need that we all have for wholesomely-nutritious foods, gallons and gallons of crisp water and daily physical activity. You can make a difference beginning today by being intentionally mindful about the thoughts and feelings of the obese people around you. Your positive energy will help obese individuals, and you, to feel better and also help to decrease the detrimental social stigma of obesity.