Cross Cultural Study into Obesity

Cross Cultural Study into Obesity

With “size zero”, “obesity epidemic” and “extreme weight loss” being phrases that are almost part of the dictionary these days, the whole world seems to be obsessing about their size and weight. People everywhere are worrying if they are too fat and trying to lose weight and fight back against obesity. We are bombarded by weight issues, the size of celebrities, obesity figures and the fact that fat is bad.
Arizona State University has published a cross cultural study that suggests that the preoccupation with weight and size has now started to infiltrate cultures that are traditionally tolerant of those who carry additional weight and of fat people. It seems that people are starting to have strong aversions to obesity.
The report has collated opinions from over 680 adults around the world. The survey also recorded people’s thoughts on obesity from cultures that are usually positive about fat people. They found that even these results were showing worrying signs that they were no longer as tolerant of obesity and people with weight problems.
The cross cultural study showed that those who were interviewed revealed that they thought that fat people were lazy, unattractive and lacking in self-discipline. This is a shift away from cultural ideals of some countries who viewed fat and additional weight as a sign that you were affluent. The results have raised some concerns about the size zero obsession which has been the cause of many unwanted side effects.
Paradoxically, even though the cross cultural study shows that weight and size have become issues across the world, there seems to have been a rise in obesity levels. According to research the level of obesity has doubled since the 1980s. This is a concern for health professionals who are already struggling to cope with the high obesity level.
It seems that this obsession with body fat, weight loss and being a size zero seems set to run and run with long term consequences on the world’s health (and weight) as a result.
So it seems that size really does matter!

Katia Reed
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