Fat studies conference challenges social constructs
Thu, 12 Jul 2012 6:29p.m.
By Emma Jolliff
The organiser of the first fat studies conference in wellington says the obesity epidemic is more a social construct than a genuine problem.
Cat Pause says the war against weight is also about class. This is because obesity affects more poor people and it affects more women.
In New Zealand a body mass index of 30 or more is considered obese, and Ms Pause says with that fat comes prejudice.
“I think the biggest challenge is fat phobia, so fat people live in a culture that openly hates them,” she says.
Ms Pause says she has even had hate mail about the "fat studies" conference.
She likes the word "fat", as opposed to "overweight", which implies there's a norm she's not achieving, or "obesity", which suggests it is a disease.
She says fatness in New Zealand is overstated.
“We are the third fattest country in the OECD which is an organisation of 30, but if you look across the world according to the World Health Organisation, the last I saw we were the 32nd fattest,” she says.
At any one time 80 per cent of us are on, or contemplating, a weight loss plan but the results are not encouraging. Researcher Andrew Dickson says most of those people will put the weight back on.
“Ninety-five percent of people who attempt weight loss will regain that weight,” he says.
Sociologist Annemarie Jutel says weight loss always seems to be applauded, no matter how unhealthy the methods to achieve it.
“Smokers are lighter weight than non smokers. People who don't eat enough might be given reinforcement for weight that's not that desirable,” she says.
Researcher Robyn Longhurst has lost 35 kilos as an adult. She says she did not want to conform to stereotypes yet wanted to be slim.
“I miss being able to eat what I want but I enjoy being in a society that reveres the slim body,” she says.
Robyn Toomath of Fight the Obesity Epidemic says it is important to keep issues of prejudice and health separate.
While sympathetic to people being stigmatised, she says you can not escape the fact that you face a greater risk of problems like heart disease, some cancers and type two diabetes if you're obese.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
14/07/2012 7:57:17 p.m.
Robyn Longhurst wrote:
I'm rather misquoted here I'm afraid. I said since losing weight I enjoy the ADVANTAGES of being in a society that reveres the slim body, not that “I enjoy being in a society that reveres the slim body" - they are quite different things!
12/07/2012 9:28:00 p.m.
Wayne Thresher wrote:
The best health outcomes and longevity are associated with whole foods/plant based diets.
In a medical first, doctors used plastic particles and a 3D ...
More than 50 New Zealanders die of asthma every year – about...
A spokesperson has confirmed today tourists will be able to ...
A visiting researcher says New Zealand needs to do more to h...
Cadbury is changing the shape and the size of its Dairy Milk...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.