LivingThey warn about the 'normalization' of large sizes

They warn about the 'normalization' of large sizes

In our society there is an obsession – sometimes insane – with the cult of the body and thinness, which has led to overweight people having to deal with cruel criticism and obvious discrimination. Perhaps in response to this, a body movement has emerged that claims the beauty of a plus size body, its exuberance and the appeal of curves . And it has happened both in the case of women – there they are, as representatives of it, models like the American Ashley Graham – as in that of men – Zach Miko is the first male model of plus sizes of the Brawn division of IMG Models -.

Beyond the social stereotypes that dare to judge people by their appearance, science has been wondering for some time if curves are always synonymous with poor health. And the answer is “not always”, since an overweight person can obtain perfect clinical analyzes. But it is not the general norm, even if your lifestyle is relatively healthy. Because overweight and obesity are associated, according to various studies, with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular diseases.


New research, carried out in England, warns about the normalization of plus size bodies because it could be accompanied by an increasing number of people who underestimate their overweight. It is clear that we must fight against the stigmatization of overweight people, but the study warns that not being aware of the dangers that this problem entails for health could have a negative effect on it.


This research, carried out by Dr. Raya Muttarak, from the University of East Anglia, England, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, based in Austria, has reviewed the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of underestimating overweight for reveal social inequalities in weight misperception patterns .


They analyzed data for 23,460 overweight or obese people and in doing so concluded that misperceptions of weight had increased in England in recent years. According to this study, men and women with lower educational levels are more likely to underestimate their weight, and that means that they are less likely to lose kilos. Likewise, according to this study, members of ethnic minority groups are also more likely to underestimate their weight; although they are more likely to try to lose weight. In general, those who underestimate their weight are 85% less likely to try to lose weight.


The results, which have been published in the journal Obesity , show that the number of overweight people who misperceive the kilos they weigh has increased over time: from 48.4% to 57.9% in the case of men; and from 24.5% to 30.6% in that of women, in a period between 1997 and 2015. In the case of obese subjects, the proportion of men who were not aware of their real weight in 2015 almost doubled the percentage of 1997: they had gone from 6.6% to 12%.


Muttarak’s vision is as follows: “By seeing the enormous potential of the plus size fashion market, retailers may have contributed to the normalization of overweight and obesity.” He adds: “While this movement helps reduce the stigmatization of larger bodies, it can also potentially undermine the recognition of being overweight and its health consequences. In England, the rise in weight misperceptions is alarming. and probably the result of that normalization. “

The face and the cross

In this way, which is something obviously very positive and worth celebrating – that fashion is finally expanding the global plus-size market so that people who had trouble finding special-size clothes now find it more easy to dress and, therefore, reduce the stigma they suffer from society – could have a negative side effect, always according to this study, by undermining the recognition of being overweight and its consequences for health.

This research has been carried out in the context of a growing concern about the increase in obesity rates and follows a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that reflected that 63% of British adults are overweight or are obese.

Of course, we must not lose sight of the fact that the obsession with a slim body can be very insane, both physically and mentally. Problems such as anorexia, bulimia or vigorexia – a behavior disorder characterized by the obsession to achieve a muscular, perfect and athletic body – are the order of the day and it is something that health policies also need to monitor.

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