There is a new movement that is absolutely detrimental to the health of our country. This new social media trend is called, “body positivity”, and its consequences can be far-reaching. In 2004, a film was released called Super Size Me. This film proposed that the fast food industry was contributing to the national epidemic of obesity. Morgan Spurlock decided to eat McDonalds every day for the sake of an experiment. He gained an increase of 13% body mass and his cholesterol sky rocketed. It ultimately had a significantly negative impact on his physical and psychological well-being.
It was about this time that the Surgeon General declared obesity as an “epidemic”. Somewhere between then and now, we have stopped terming obesity as an epidemic and instead we call it “beautiful”. Tess Holliday, a popular social media “influencer” and face of “body positivity”, claims “Health is personal.… you can take care of your body the way YOU see fit”. Here’s the reality – health is not personal. Poor health contributes to higher mortality rates, it contributes greatly to the well-being of children and rising health care costs.
Tess Holliday weighs 280 pounds at 5’3”. The BMI, or Body Mass Index, says at 5’3 your ideal weight should be anywhere between 103-127 pounds. You are considered morbidly obese if you are 100 pounds over your ideal weight. According to the BMI, Tess Holliday is morbidly, and detrimentally obese. This woman should not be lecturing our society on the merits of health being a personal choice. She calls herself plus size. She is obese by any standard and has almost single-handedly ruined what was once a very respectable movement; the plus-size model movement. She is the unfortunate consequence of a well intentioned plus-size model movement. Essentially, the intent was for healthy plus-size models that represented most of America should be looked upon as just as beautiful as their counterparts. Fine, we accept that. We accept that wafer thin models should not be the standard of beauty. We understand a lot of this belief of what beauty is leads to eating disorders of all types. The attempt to reverse that belief, is leading to the most dangerous disorder of all. Obesity. We MUST NOT accept that it is OK to be morbidly obese. Me MUST NOT let our impressionable young daughters accept and embrace advice from a morbidly obese women who is getting body positivity confused with preaching a message about health that leads to high blood pressure, diabetes, and early death.
I’m sorry, but the ugly and unpopular fact is that obesity kills. Just this year we lost the comedian Ralphie May due complications regarding his weight. No one claimed this man was beautiful, everyone knew he was “morbidly obese”. It was only a matter of time, and with people who battle obesity, time is their worst enemy. This lifestyle must not be condoned, let alone celebrated.
Michelle Obama spent the better part of her time as First Lady battling childhood obesity. She encouraged healthy lunches, outside play programs and put an emphasis on athletics. Our kids must not think it’s okay for them to eat whatever they want, any portion size they want and never exercise. Heavy kids get bullied, and that is a sad reality that no social media “movement” can possibly reverse.
The hard numbers show that by 2025 the diabetes rate will rise nearly 64%, according to studies done by Dr. William Rowley and Dr. Clement Bezold. Moreover, this increase in diabetes will affect 53 million people and will result in medical and societal costs of a half trillion dollars. Many doctors will say that this movement is dangerous for our society. Dr. Sally Norton states, “It is now ‘normal’ to be overweight or obese – well over 50% of the population are… That means it is becoming more and more accepted.”
For a country that has the highest obesity rate of all industrial countries, the last thing we should be teaching our population is that it’s okay to be obese. It’s not. It leads to heart attacks, diabetes, bullying and ultimately death. Instead, we should be teaching the idea of loving yourself no matter your size, and you will find that if someone truly loves who they are, then they will not be content with being obese and unhealthy. They will seek positive change instead of dangerous complacency.