Words & Language We Don’t Use (In a Non-Diet/ Weight Neutral Space)

Why we don’t use this term:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The word “overweight” implies there is a weight over which one is definitely unhealthy- this is not true.

Our idea of ‘being overweight’ is often based on the BMI- an inaccurate system never intended to be used to measure a person’s health, a system which is not evidence based, and a system which has racist origins.

There are many aspects to our health- mental, emotional, relational, environmental, physiological, financial, spiritual, etc… While there are links between extreme weight and health problems, evidence for the role of factors other than weight in people’s health is stronger. Exercise and nutrition are better predictors of health than a lower body weight.

Obese/ Obesity Epidemic

Why we don’t use this term:

The etymology of the word “obese” wrongly suggests that a large appetite leads to being larger bodied.

The origin of the “obesity epidemic”:

It’s 1998- The National Institutes of Health- the agency which sets the official BMI categories for the USA- changes its thresholds for what is considered ‘overweight/obese’. People suddenly move into new, higher BMI categories & millions of Americans become ‘overweight/obese’ overnight- their bodies didn’t change- the cutoffs did. These cutoffs were made based off a report- the information of which can be traced back to the IOTF (International Obesity Task Force)- a group funded by two large pharmaceutical companies selling weight-loss drugs, and whose ‘experts’ were paid consultants of weight-loss companies. The addition of nearly 40 million people to the higher/ ‘at risk’ BMI categories elevated ‘obesity’ to a level of public-health importance never seen before.

Fatness is exaggerated as a ‘health risk’ (with evidence that is incomplete and contradictory). Variables like physical activity levels, socioeconomic status, stress from body bias/discrimination, and weight cycling have not been factored in or controlled for in studies that correlate between weight and morbidity.

Correlation does not equal causation, and there is no evidence based treatment for high body weight.

Questions? Drop a comment below 🙂