Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Weight Stigma Awareness Week! Are you participating?

So, I recently found out that October is pretty much the coolest month ever, what with the Fat Talk Free Week coming up and now Weight Stigma Awareness Week!

To kick off our post about these awesome initiatives, why not throw in some pictures of headless fatties:

Because fat people don't deserve to have their faces shown. They are soooo grotesque and obnoxious that we don't want to see their faces. Yuck.

Great, now that it's out of our system, let's talk a little bit about weight stigma and how it relates to public health.

This past week, we hosted Ragen Chastain of Dances with Fat, an exciting blog that talks about obese peoples' health experiences. She spoke at the School of Rural Public Health about how obesity is itself not a health concern; rather, obesity can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. In fact, you can be obese and be more healthy than someone in the "normal" weight range.

Weight is, alone, not an indicator of health. There are all kinds of unhealthy people out there in the world, and they all fall into different weight categories. The BMI was never meant to be applied to individuals, but is rather a population-based measure of body size.

I feel like I've heard or said this all before ....

Anyway, I'm glad that someone came up with this initiative. As a former Fat Person, I can attest to the fact that people treat you differently when you gain a crap-load of weight. I've had doctors tell me to just "eat less and exercise more," or "you're not trying hard enough to lose the weight." Too bad my 40-lb. weight gain in 6 months was due to a hormone condition, not my diet. Now that I'm on medication, my weight and cholesterol have dropped, and I'm healthy again.

This issue is particularly close to my heart because of my personal experiences with being chastised for being fat. I was fat because I was sick, not because I made poor health choices. But even if you are fat and unhealthy, it's no reason to BLAME someone or treat them with disrespect.

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