Experts agree obesity is NOT just a lack of will power and fat-shaming people does not help.
Experts say obesity is NOT a choice!
The British Psychological Society has called for a change in language, saying obesity is ‘not a choice’ and we should be using the phrase ‘living with obesity’.
The society has urged officials to do more to tackle obesity, which it says is caused by a combination of factors including genes.
A quarter of adults (1 in 4) and a third of children in the UK are now obese, which raises the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.
In 2016, around 30% of adults in the United States were estimated to be obese.
BPS admits while obesity is caused by behaviour, those behaviours do not always involve ‘choice’ or ‘personal responsibility’.
They wrote in their report that, ‘Obesity is not simply down to an individual’s lack of willpower.
‘The people who are most likely to be an unhealthy weight are those who have a high genetic risk of developing obesity and whose lives are also shaped by work, school and social environments that promote overeating and inactivity.
‘People who live in deprived areas often experience high levels of stress, including major life challenges and trauma.’
‘Psychological experiences also play a big role – up to half of adults attending specialist obesity services have experienced childhood adversity.’
They added, ‘Often their neighbourhoods offer few opportunities and incentives for physical activity and options for accessing affordable healthy food are limited.
They say it is ‘important to avoid language and explanations that locate the “problem” of obesity within individuals’.
In its report, it called for people to stop using the term ‘obese people’ and instead opt for the term ‘people with obesity’.
8 reasons why obesity is not just a choice
- Genetics and prenatal factors
- Birth, infancy, and childhood habits
- Medications or medical conditions
- Powerful hunger hormones
- Leptin resistance
- Poor nutrition education
- Addictive junk food
- The effect of gut bacteria
How do you know if you’re obese?
Based on the body mass index – a measure used to assess whether you’re a healthy weight for your height – being between 30 and 39.9 means you are classified as obese.
Our constant obsession to weigh children does not help!
“Our obsession with infant growth charts may be fuelling childhood obesity,” says The Conversation.
Unfortunately, many parents interpret growth charts incorrectly and think a baby tracking above the 50th percentile is good, and below is bad.
Parents are conditioned to feed children in ways designed to bump them up over the magic 50th percentile. This upward crossing of percentiles represents the rapid growth that increases the risk of obesity in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
However a couple of months ago parents who DON’T weigh their children were admonished and told they were at risk of failing to identify signs of childhood obesity.
More than 50% of parents fail to recognise that their children may be seriously overweight – and many health professionals share this misperception, according to researchers.
Not everyone agrees
A discussion on a popular morning show Facebook page attracted quite a large response with over 360 comments so far today.
Not everyone agrees with the experts and even those classified as obese say they feel they do have a choice.
- “As an obese person, it is most definitely a choice for MOST of us. Yes, there are those that medically can not help it, but the majority of us it is due to poor lifestyle choices.”
- “Most of us are overweight because of what we chose to put in our mouth and how much we chose to move our bodies….it’s as simple as that!!!!!”
- “It’s not a choice. It’s a lifestyle. It’s not a disease and shouldn’t be treated like one.”
- “For some, it’s an unconscious choice for some it isn’t. Don’t put everyone in the same box”
- “For some, it is a choice and for others, they have no choice. Don’t place everyone in the same basket. You don’t know anyone’s journey in life. Just because YOU chose to better your life and it worked don’t assume it will be the same for the next person.”
- “Maybe it has something to do with the COST of living!! The inability to buy healthy foods .. instead have to rely on cheap unhealthy advertised foods/takeaways to feed the family!!”
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