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Is the prejudice growing or is it me?

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Old 09-04-2009, 05:54 AM   #1
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Angry Is the prejudice growing or is it me?

I was just shown this news article that was published yesterday: http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599191988500

I realize at the bottom that it tells parents not to encourage their kids to drop their heavy friends, but personally I doubt most people will read that far down the article because I almost stopped reading when it went on to talk about other statistics and stuff like that.

Is it me or does it seem that the prejudice against bigger people is getting worse every day?

I mean, now almost all the stores that used to have plus sized sections have removed those sections from the stores and made the plus sized items only available from their online stores... they are passing rules on planes about heavy people being required to buy two seats even if they don't need two seats... Does anybody else see this happening or is it just me being paranoid? lol

It may actually be a good thing if it is, kinda like an infection under the surface about to burst so it can start healing, I guess we'll see!
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:37 AM   #2
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I think that the prejudice against bigger people is getting worse. First it was the smokers and now it is obese people. You are hearing more about how we obese people are costing society so much money.

I am not so sure that it will end up being a good thing but maybe. I think fewer people smoke now, so maybe the same thing with happen with obesity. I am afraid though that the prejudice will hurt so many people that it will cause them even more problems than they already have.

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Old 09-04-2009, 09:42 AM   #3
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I don't really thinks so and I've been large all 28 years of my life. I think the risks associated with being obese have really just started to really manifest themselves and as such we read more articles about how it affects our health.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:10 AM   #4
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I think it has gotten worse, especially with the new debates on the cost of health care, and the articles about how obese people affect global warming (I don't have a link, sorry! but they are out there!)
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:16 AM   #5
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It is probably getting worse because of the numbers of overweight people increasing and childhood obesity increasing. I think there are more overweight people than not overweight people and the minority is getting scared.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:02 AM   #6
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Perhaps we are just sensitive to the obesity media, because most of the people on this board have been heavier at some point. When someone is being blamed for something I think it's a natural reaction to be defensive. Alternatively, When there is a problem, it's natural to blame it on someone else.

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Old 09-04-2009, 01:44 PM   #7
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I think it is. Here is an article from this week's Newsweek about fat hatred in America: http://www.newsweek.com/id/213646

It hit the nail on the head for what I've been feeling lately.
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:56 PM   #8
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I don't think it's worse, I do think governments haven't worked out a way of getting their msgs across without stigmatizing obese people.

Certainly in our health system, obesity costs the health service millions, as does alcoholism and drugtaking and all other 'self-induced' conditions. I really don't know the publicity answer. Certainly if I were slim and I or one of my loved ones were denied treatment or had to wait longer for treatment because someone whose condition was self-induced was higher up the waiting list, I would find that very hard to deal with. I say that as one who is still, by a few pounds, in the obese category, I hear what I'm saying.

Being obese is so fraught with attendant health problems, not to mention mental/emotional problems (well my confidence is mostly hidden by obesity anyway), clothes issues, comfort issues etc etc, it's only right to try and get the msg across HARD that obesity is to be avoided. How to get that across without stigmatizing those who're fat n trying, I don't know.

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Old 09-04-2009, 02:21 PM   #9
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I think it is not as bad as it used to be.

Twenty-five years ago, when I weighed 150 pounds, 5'8" and was very athletic, I struggled to fit into size 14 clothes and most stores didn't carry plus sizes. Now, many high quality clothing brands have a plus size line-- back then, fat people wore mu-muus.

Now, there are so many more obese people in the population that it's easier to think it's not so bad if you're heavy...

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Old 09-04-2009, 02:25 PM   #10
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It is possible for slender 'normal' weight people to develop diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and all the other diseases that obese people seem more prone to get. They can't deny health care based on that. If the health care system put more money into preventative medicine they'd save more money in the long run. Say if they spent money to open weight loss clinics (not for WLS) they'd save money down the road when these people don't develop these diseases which cost more money to treat. Acute care medicine costs a lot more than preventative medicine.
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:36 PM   #11
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I don't get a sense of prejudice from the article. I'm encouraged by the interest in obesity in our medical community. The public does need to become more aware of this epidemic. When I was in school, I was one of only a few "chubby" kids. Have you really looked at our children these days? The thin child is now becoming the exception rather the the rule. Most of my daughters' friends have rolls around their tummy. The instance of adult onset diabetes in children is growing at an alarming rate.

Regarding plus sizes, I have more choices now than I ever had before. And, they are relatively stylish options. There are now more plus size clothing for children. My Mom used to shop for me at Sears. Now, there are children's plus sizes in several stores.

Regarding buying two seats on airplanes, I agree with this policy. Why should I be allowed to enroach into another paying passenger's space just because I am fat? If I take up more than one seat, I should pay for more than one seat.

I really don't feel like I'm discriminated against. Almost everyone I meet or see these days is somewhat overweight. To be thin would make me stand out from the norm!
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:06 PM   #12
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I'm not sure about the discrimination aspect. I think the bigger issue (no pun intended) is to decide exactly HOW far is our society prepared to go to accomodate those out of the range of the "norm", especially if the condition is completely curable without medications/surgery by the afflicted individual.

It is a tough situation -- do companies incur a loss because of those individuals who demand 2 seats for the price of 1 because they chose to eat themselves into a situation where they need 2 seats for comfort? Or do they pass this cost down to the rest of us? Conversely, am I as an overweight but not a super-morbidly obese person being discriminated against because I am not able to have 2 seats for the price of 1 for my personal comfort? Are buildings to be modified with respect to door and aisle widths to accomodate for the comfort of extremely large people? Are car manufacturers discriminating against the very large because they don't have enough space between the seat and the steering wheel for extremely large people to drive comfortably? Should all public services be required to retrofit their facilities and equipment in order to accommodate the extremely large individual at the cost of the taxpayer? Where is the line between reasonable accommodation and discrimination? At what BMI/size does one "draw the line"?

And if everyone is larger now than in previous years, it makes sense to accommodate the norm, but accommodating EVERYONE? I'm not sure -- after all, we don't accommodate for the little people amongst us with respect to counter heights, public washroom facilities and so on. We don't significantly accomodate for visually impaired people (other than braille on some public building elevator and door signs and the odd beeping walk signal). We don't accommodate for the hearing impaired. And these conditions aren't curable. But obesity IS and it is a bit hard for alot of people to sympathize with the plight of the super-heavy amongst us because it IS a condition within their control.

One other aspect to think about too is this: are we as a society "normalizing" a condition that isn't and perhaps should NOT be "normal" -- by making it easy to be super-overweight, it there any incentive for people to actually change to a healthy lifestyle? If there is no consequence to the action, what is the motivation to change? One BIG motivator for me was when I caught the train at my highest weight, and the fold down table wouldn't fold down in front of me fully because my tummy was too big! TOO BIG!!! I knew THEN that things had to change -- I'd been forced out of my denial that "I was OK" because the darn table tray was resting on my tummy. I wonder if I'd have continued upwards in weight if the table tops were designed for very large people. And I wonder where I'd be today if I'd blamed the table tray/seat design and societal discrimination instead of recognizing the consequences of my eating behaviours.

I don't know the answer to any of these questions, but I DO feel that there is an element of unreasonableness when it comes to the expectation of the very very large people amongst us. Especially when this condition is completely curable without requiring the intervention of the medical establishment (LOTS of us on this site are proof of THAT!).



Last edited by kiramira : 09-04-2009 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:14 PM   #13
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I understand the idea that overeating can be contagious, but so can weight loss. And as far as kids eat more with their fat friends, I think it's kids eat more with other kids who eat more. When I was a kid I did a lot of eating at my friend Leah's house. She was one of those kids who could have a plate of spaghetti for a snack and still eat a full dinner. She was (and still is) VERY skinny.
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:17 PM   #14
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The conclusions seem a bit overblown to me. I mean, anything your child's friend does becomes something your child is more likely to do. Children and adolescents are under so much pressure to conform. What and how much they eat is affected by who they're with, just as what they talk about, the language they use, the music they listen do, the clothes they wear, etc. I certainly wouldn't prefer my child hang out with normal weight, rude, close-minded, risk-taking friends over overweight, considerate, responsible ones. If all things were equal, sure, I'd prefer they had friends with healthy habits over unhealthy ones. But in what world is it all divided that neatly? There is so much scary stuff going on amongst adolescents that the weight of their friends wouldn't be at the top of my list of things to worry about.
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:22 PM   #15
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Oh, this just makes me so mad!

I did like this line from the Newsweek article:
Geier notes that even the most rigorous behavioral programs result in at most about a 12.5 percent decrease in weight,
At most, at most?

How many of us are already a testament to this not being true?

*raises hand*

I have lost more than 12.5% of my starting weight. Am I following a "rigorous behavioural program"?

I wouldn't have said so.
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