Are We Glorifying Obesity?

25 October 2023
Dr. Raoul Novelli
Reviewed by Dr. Raoul Novelli
Written by Anastasia Lesnikova

    A debate is emerging between the issue of obesity and body positivity, with many starting to ask the question of whether we are glorifying obesity through body-positive movements and ‘love the skin you’re in’ campaigns. Whilst it is never of for people with larger body shapes to be treated any differently, those with obesity will also be experiencing other obesity-related health risks, this is the harsh truth of obesity which really needs to be emphasised.

    Recent data based on America shows there is now an obesity prevalence higher than 20% in all states and territories, equating to more than 1 in 5 adults. The general difference in the population's body mass index (BMI) in 10 years is staggering. While it is okay for people to have larger, curvier body types if their BMI is creeping into the overweight and obese category their health needs to come first.

    Prevalence of Obesity in the USA, 2011. Glorifying obesity
    Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State and Territory, BRFSS, 2011. Source: Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps.
    Prevalence of Obesity in the USA, 2022. Glorifying obesity
    Prevalence of Obesity Based on Self-Reported Weight and Height Among US Adults by State and Territory, BRFSS, 2022. Source: Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps.

    What is Obesity?

    Before we can define what glorifying obesity means, we need to ensure we have an understanding of what obesity is. One of the defining characteristics of this health condition is excessively accumulating body fat. Having a BMI over 30.0 is another. Even if your BMI falls within the category of 25.0 to 29.0, this is medically considered as overweight. BMIs in this region mean your body is at risk of developing other serious health problems that could significantly affect your quality of life.

    Another way to consider obesity is the other side of malnutrition. Today, more people are obese than underweight in every region, except for sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Once primarily a concern in high-income countries, the occurrence of overweight and obesity is now dramatically increasing in low- and middle-income countries, especially in urban areas. The majority of overweight or obese children reside in developing nations, where the rate of increase has exceeded 30% compared to that of developed countries.

    Glorifying Obesity

    "Glorifying obesity" is a term used to describe the act of promoting or celebrating obesity, typically through various forms of media, art, or social platforms. The term suggests that certain content or individuals may encourage or portray obesity in a positive light, which can be controversial.

    Advocates for body positivity argue that it's essential to challenge societal beauty standards and promote self-acceptance, regardless of one's body size. They suggest that glorifying obesity is a way to combat weight-based discrimination and promote inclusivity. However, it is also believed that such efforts could unintentionally promote unhealthy lifestyles and contribute to the obesity epidemic.

    In addition to shocking figures in America, in the UK it is estimated that 1 in 4 adults are living with obesity, as well as 1 in 5 children from the age of 10 to 11. Surely these statistics prove there is something that needs to be done to help promote healthier lifestyles? 

    The discussion around glorifying obesity then becomes a part of a broader conversation about body image, health, and societal norms. Rather than glorifying obesity a distinction must be made about supporting different body shapes and sizes, whilst recognising the dangers of having dangerously high BMIs.  

    Is Obesity and Body Positivity Dangerous?

    The relationship between obesity and body positivity is highly debated and, consequently, a very complex topic. To get an understanding of this, it is important to understand the body positivity movements further.

    The Body Positivity Movement

    The Body Positivity Movement is a social and cultural movement that emerged to promote self-acceptance and a positive body image, regardless of a person's size, shape, or appearance. It challenges the unrealistic and often harmful beauty standards and ideals perpetuated by the media, fashion industry, and society at large.

     Glorifying Obesity - Obesity & Body Positivity Can Be Damaging

    Its mantra centralises around the acceptance of all bodies. It emphasises that all bodies are valid and worthy of love and respect, regardless of size, weight, age, gender, ability, or any other characteristic. It strives to challenge discrimination, body shaming, and societal pressures to conform to a narrow definition of beauty. Within this, it encourages individuals to embrace and love their bodies as they are. It promotes self-acceptance and self-confidence, encouraging people to focus on their abilities and personalities rather than fixating on perceived flaws.

    Within this movement also comes the push for more diversity. In addition to pushing for a greater representation of body shapes, it also encourages a more accurate representation of the population. For example, it drives us to see greater ethical inclusions, as well as more abilities and gender representations.

    So, Are We Normalising Obesity?

    On the whole, the body positivity movement has been a huge positive for society force combating the harmful effects of body shaming and the unrealistic beauty ideals perpetuated by the media. And, while body positivity in itself is not dangerous, it must be approached with some caution. There is a potential danger in how it could be interpreted and implemented.

    As is the case with most things, in an extreme form, body positivity could be seen as glorifying and even encouraging those living with obesity to be discouraged from addressing their weight-related health issues. In this extreme view, the movement can be seen to accept and normalise obesity. However, if the efforts and dedication of the body positivity movement are seen to celebrate all the different variations of healthy bodies, then, instead it is not normalising obesity.

    Therefore, it is essential to strike a balance between promoting body positivity, reducing weight-based discrimination, and acknowledging the health risks associated with obesity. 

    The Dangers of Obesity

    Obesity is associated with a wide range of health risks and can have serious consequences for an individual's well-being. Some of the primary health risks of obesity include:

    • Cardiovascular Disease: Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease, including conditions like coronary artery disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), and stroke. Excess body fat can lead to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, which can restrict blood flow and increase the risk of heart-related issues.
    • Type 2 Diabetes: Obesity stands as a primary contributor to the development of type 2 diabetes. Excess body fat can lead to insulin resistance, where the body's cells do not respond effectively to insulin, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels.
    • Respiratory Problems: Obesity can lead to breathing difficulties and conditions such as sleep apnea and obesity hypoventilation syndrome. These conditions can cause interruptions in breathing during sleep and result in reduced oxygen levels in the blood.
    • Joint Problems: The added weight of excess fat can place additional stress on the joints, particularly in the knees, hips, and lower back. This can lead to conditions like osteoarthritis, which causes pain and reduced mobility.
    • Specific Cancer Types: An association has been established between obesity and a heightened susceptibility to particular forms of cancer, encompassing breast, colon, endometrial, and kidney cancers.
    • Fatty Liver Disease: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is common in people with obesity. It can progress to more severe liver conditions, such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cirrhosis.
    • Metabolic Syndrome: Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, and excess abdominal fat, which together increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
    • Kidney Disease: Obesity is associated with an increased risk of kidney disease, including chronic kidney disease (CKD). Excess weight can put stress on the kidneys and impair their function.
    • Gastrointestinal Disorders: Obesity can increase the likelihood of experiencing conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and gallbladder disease.
    • Mental Health Issues: Obesity can have negative effects on mental health, leading to conditions like depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Social stigmatisation and discrimination against people with obesity can also contribute to mental health problems, despite the efforts of body positivity movements.
    • Reproductive Health Issues: Obesity can affect fertility and increase the risk of complications during pregnancy, including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. It can also increase the likelihood of birth defects in offspring.
    • Reduced Life Expectancy: Overall, obesity is associated with a decreased life expectancy. It significantly increases the risk of premature death due to the aforementioned health issues.

    Obesity is a complex medical condition that can vary due to various contributing factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and environmental influences. Managing and preventing obesity often involves a combination of healthy eating, regular physical activity, and, in some cases, medical intervention or weight loss surgery. If you are ever concerned about your weight or its impact on your health, it's essential to book an appointment with your local GP or health care professional.

    The Difficulties of Losing Weight

    Efforts to lose weight, however, are often full of ups and downs. While people often start extremely motivated, focused and pumped on achieving their weight loss goals, at some point, the wall can hit. Weightloss journeys are often lengthy and challenging, there are several difficulties and obstacles that people may encounter along the way.

    Some of the common difficulties of losing weight include:

    • Lifestyle Changes: Adopting and maintaining a healthier lifestyle can be difficult, especially when it involves making significant changes to eating habits and exercise routines. Resisting the temptation of unhealthy foods and finding time to exercise regularly can be a struggle.
    • Slow Progress: Weight loss is often a gradual process, and it can be disheartening when results are not immediately visible. This slow progress can lead to frustration and a lack of motivation.
    • Plateaus in Weight Loss: A common occurrence for many individuals is reaching a weight loss plateau, a point at which their weight remains stagnant despite their persistent endeavours.
    • Emotional Eating: Emotional and stress-related eating can be a significant hurdle in weight loss. Many individuals turn to food for comfort, which can lead to overeating and hinder progress.
    • Social Pressure: Social gatherings and peer pressure can make it challenging to stick to a weight loss plan. Attending parties, family events, and outings where unhealthy food is prevalent can be difficult.
    • Lack of Support: A lack of support from friends and family members can make weight loss more challenging. Having a strong support system is crucial for success.
    • Hormonal Factors: Hormonal changes can affect weight loss, particularly in women. Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disorders can make it more difficult to shed pounds.
    • Metabolic Rate: Some individuals may have a naturally slower metabolism, making it more challenging to burn calories and lose weight.
    • Physical Limitations: Injuries or physical limitations can restrict exercise options and impact the ability to engage in certain activities that aid in weight loss.
    • Psychological Factors: Negative self-image and low self-esteem can hinder progress. A lack of self-confidence can make it harder to stick to a weight loss plan.
    • Unrealistic Expectations: Unrealistic goals and expectations can set individuals up for disappointment. Crash diets and extreme weight loss plans are often unsustainable and can lead to disappointment.
    • Health Conditions: Underlying health conditions can make weight loss more difficult. Some medications may also contribute to weight gain or make it harder to lose weight.
    • Yoyo Dieting: Frequent weight fluctuations and yoyo dieting can be counterproductive to long-term weight loss success. This pattern can slow down metabolism and make it more challenging to lose weight in the future.
    • Body Composition Changes: As people lose weight, their body composition changes. Muscle mass can decrease, which can lower the basal metabolic rate and require adjustments to the weight loss strategy.

    While everyone’s journey is unique, sometimes people need a little helping hand along the way. This is where VIP’s technology comes into its own. When non-invasive aesthetic procedures are combined with a realistic weight loss plan, results become more achievable and sustainable. 

    cavitation before and after
    After Lipoline lipocavitation followed by Transion EMS treatments. The results by Zone Santé-Health Zone clinic, Montreal, Canada.

    VIP’s Technology

    Promoting self-acceptance and mental well-being should not be at odds with addressing health concerns. Body positivity should ideally coexist with efforts to improve overall health and well-being. And, ideally, this is where encouraging healthy lifestyle choices should not be seen as body shaming but as a means to improve one's health. 

    Our cutting-edge electrostimulation technology helps people rid themselves of these dangerous levels of excess fat, helping them lower their BMI and get their curves back on the healthy side. It does this through four different functions:

    Lipoline

    For individuals struggling with obesity or an elevated BMI, our Lipoline Function serves as a non-surgical alternative to liposuction. This function targets fat cells through 1 MHz ultrasound cavitation, aiding in the reshaping of the body's contours. It's especially beneficial for those experiencing weight gain as it not only targets fat cells but also helps prevent cellulite progression, providing a tailored solution for weight management.

    Transion

    Transion technology is specifically designed to combat excess weight concerns. It works by precisely targeting muscles and tissues with micro-electrical impulses, prompting them to contract and generate unique bending and twisting forces that aren't typically achievable through regular physical activity. The emulation of muscle contractions can be particularly advantageous as it can effectively stimulate calorie burning akin to rigorous exercise, aiding in weight reduction.

    Linfogei 

    Obesity and elevated BMI can lead to various health concerns. Our Linfogei function is tailored to address these issues by providing aesthetic lymphatic drainage. It effectively reduces the appearance of cellulite, which can be particularly encouraging for those grappling with obesity-related challenges.

    Isogei 

    Isogei treatment offers a remarkable solution for increasing muscle mass. This function excels at firming and toning muscles, resulting not only in a leaner and more athletic physique but also in a visible lifting effect that enhances the overall appearance of the body, making it an excellent choice for individuals striving to manage their weight.

    Body positivity is not without its controversies and debates. Some argue that it has been co-opted by commercial interests and that it sometimes neglects other important aspects of health. Regardless, it has had a significant impact on challenging narrow beauty standards and promoting self-love and acceptance. As long as these positives are considered alongside the dangers of obesity, it will continue to do a lot of good. 


    Get in touch with our tea today to discover more about how our devices can help tackle excess fat and bring BMIs into the healthier brackets. 

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    FAQ

    What is the meaning of glorifying obesity?

    Glorifying obesity refers to promoting or portraying obesity in a positive or favourable light, often downplaying the associated health risks and implications.

    Has society started to accept obesity?

    Yes, society has seen a shift towards increased acceptance of obesity, challenging traditional beauty standards and emphasising body positivity and acceptance of diverse body shapes and sizes.

    How can I come to terms with being overweight?

    Coming to terms with being overweight involves accepting one’s body while also focusing on improving health through balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and a positive self-image.

    What points are made in the argument against obesity?

    The argument against obesity often centres on its health implications, societal burden, and the need for preventive measures, highlighting the increased risks of chronic diseases and decreased life expectancy.

    What health issues are associated with obesity?

    Health issues associated with obesity include cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

    What are the five factors that increase the risk of obesity?

    Five factors that increase the risk of obesity include poor diet, lack of physical activity, genetic predisposition, environmental influences, and socioeconomic factors.

    What are the top three risk factors linked to obesity?

    The top three risk factors linked to obesity are unhealthy eating patterns, sedentary lifestyles, and genetic susceptibility.

    What are the four indicators of obesity?

    Four indicators of obesity commonly include body mass index (BMI) measurement, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and body fat percentage.

    In what ways does obesity impact one's quality of life?

    Obesity can impact one’s quality of life by leading to physical limitations, emotional distress, decreased mobility, increased healthcare costs, and social stigma.

    Does obesity have a negative effect on overall quality of life?

    Yes, obesity generally has a negative effect on overall quality of life due to the associated health challenges, limited mobility, and potential social discrimination.

    How can individuals struggling with obesity enhance their quality of life?

    Individuals struggling with obesity can enhance their quality of life through healthy lifestyle changes, including a balanced diet, regular physical activity, proper medical care, and social support.

    What is the impact of childhood obesity on one's quality of life?

    Childhood obesity negatively impacts one’s quality of life by increasing the risk of developing chronic health conditions early in life, affecting physical, emotional, and social well-being.

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