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Everyone who hasn’t been living in isolation for the past 20 years knows that we have a problem with obesity. Now this seems to be one of the main topics for public health officials: how to fix the nation’s problem with obesity?

On the flip side of this, rates of eating disorders are rising and children as young 6 are being diagnosed with anorexia. Even those children who do not have a diagnosable eating disorder have a worrying preoccupation with weight and size. I’ve seen 7 years old talk about being fat. There are exercise classes aimed at under 10s (who are not overweight) who want to “stay skinny”.

Our obsession with obesity has created a generation of people who value size and weight above all else. There was a time that being skinny was bad and girls vied to have curves. Now those women are few and far between and the ones that do exist are mocked and belittle by their piers for being fat and ugly. All of a sudden we are equating fat to ugly. Think about our language. I have had bad days before when I have talked about feeling fat and a friend will say “no you’re not, you’re pretty”. Since when were fat and pretty opposites?

This preoccupation with weight and size being “bad” has been fueled by the public health teams expressing concern that to be overweight and obese is unhealthy. Recent studies have suggested what many people have been saying all along, obesity is not necessarily unhealthy. I mean, we have to realize that these definitions are all made up to begin with. The “healthy” BMI (an issue for a whole other debate) has changed a number of times over the past couple of decades. We don’t actually know what is healthy or not. If someone is 5′ 4″ and 300lbs with no health problems why would they not be better than the 5′ 4″ person who is 100lbs with high cholesterol and osteoporosis?

Size does not dictate out health!

This constant indoctrination that small = healthy has created a generation of neurotic children. Those who are “overweight” and miserable or those who are “normal” or “skinny” and think they’re fat.

We talk about not judging people by how they look and being comfortable with who we are, but that’s not what we are teaching our children nor how we behave.

A person’s size does not dictate their worth, beauty or health. We need to stop obsessing over weight, it isn’t the important thing. We need to teach our children how to cook, how to eat “right”, how to have fun exercising. But that isn’t all. We need to teach them that health is dictating by these things, not by our size. If some people can naturally eat terribly and stay thin as a rake does it not seem logical that there are people who can eat very little and still gain weight? Our bodies are all different, we can’t keep making generalizations that “fat” is unhealthy and bad and “thin” is healthy and good.

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