Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fat is the New Thin

According to this the new normal is to be overweight, and the medically  ideal weight for height and age is now being perceived as being underweight.  The article says that this can lead to a worsening off the obesity epidemic:

This lack of reality around body weight and diet is considered to be one of the many barriers in the nation’s growing obesity epidemic. We’ve become more “numb” to overweight and obesity because it’s everywhere; a person who is of normal weight actually appears to be the one who doesn’t fit in anymore.

Back in April 2010 I blogged about how pictures of circus fat men and women from the early part of the 20th century didn't look all that freakish.   The pictures showed overweight people that were so unusual for the time that people actually paid to see them.

These circus fat people don't seem all that unusual anymore.   In fact, you probably see people just like them anytime you go to the mall.

That's because fat is the new thin, We've grown so adjusted to seeing overweight people, that people who are just slightly overweight are now considered "thin," and those who are at their medically ideal weight are considered underweight.


  1. I'm seeing this phenomenon PERSONALLY. When I say that I'm still 40 pounds above what the med/insurance charts say would be normal for a woman my age/height, I get looked at like I'm nuts. I'm told, "You're fine. Why would you want to lose more? You'll be too thin."

    This puzzles me. I'm not slender. Not by a ways. I'm 183 lbs. No matter how you cut that number , no matter I've had a personal trainer for 3 years and have been consistently exercising (meaning I built some muscle weight), I'm still OVER WEIGHT. I still have EXCESS FAT. I'm still not slender.

    When I mention I'm not even aiming for "normal", as I accept I'll have 10-15+ pounds of excess skin hanging off my frame, so I account for that and get to about 160 lbs. Not skinny. Accounting for hanging skin. Just sorta in there in normal range. That's 23 more pounds to lose.

    I find folks still sometimes incredulous.

    The only explanation is that we are obesity-skewed visually. We're so used to seeing big folks and so anyone getting to normalish weight seems ....underweight?

  2. Our culture is swamped with extreme visuals with regard to body images. Female models look (are?) anorexic and then there is a preoccupation with reality shows tracking ever larger people doing all kinds of things to lose weight. There is no 'normal' anymore.

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