During the entire history of medicine, we’ve gotten things wrong countless times. From prescribing heroin as a painkiller to telling sailors with scurvy that they didn’t need fruit, we’ve made some mistakes. Despite that, people seem to forget that and assume that everything that we know now is fact.
A lot of the information that we have now will be proven wrong in coming years, that’s just how science works. In recent years, we’re even starting to see that we’re being told all the wrong things about obesity.
“Just Don’t Eat So Much”
That’s the advice that overweight people are given. “Just don’t eat so much … Try this diet … Work Harder.” This, however, isn’t just suggested by their friends and family, it’s said by coworkers, strangers, and even doctors.
At first glance, it may seem like this really is a solution. It seems like all people need to do is stop eating or go on some new fad diet that people are swearing by. However, if it were that easy, then 75% of men, 60% of women, and 13% of children in the US wouldn’t be overweight.
If it were as easy as dieting, then the chance of an obese woman in the US reaching a normal weight wouldn’t be 0.8%.
We’ve Been Taught to Shame
Although we live in a world that’s finally beginning to preach kindness and acceptance, we sill have a long way to go. Most people are still judging others based on appearance alone. The sad part is that they might not even consciously realize that they’re doing it.
Many overweight and obese people live their lives in fear of being ridiculed. Some of them avoid public transport because they can sense the annoyance of the other passengers. A huge number of them only really eat in private when no one else can look down on them for it.
It’s not just in their everyday lives that they’re being shamed, but in the workplace too. In 2017, a survey was carried out by a website called Fairygodboss. In it, 500 hiring professionals were shown a picture of an overweight woman and asked if they’d consider hiring her. Only 15.6% said that they would. To make matters even worse, 20% of them called her “lazy” and another 21% called her “unprofessional” despite having no other information about her.
Even Children Are Taught This
A separate study was published by the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. In it, the researchers behind it studied the attitudes that children aged between 3-5 had towards their overweight peers.
What they found was that these young children were using words such as “lazy,” “mean,” and “stupid” to describe overweight children. Along with that, they were also subjected to bullying and mistreatment.
Doctors Aren’t Doing Their Jobs
From the moment that an obese person walks into a doctor’s office, they immediately start to judge them. There have even been countless stories of serious illnesses going undetected in overweight people because the doctors involved assumed that their issues were because of their weight.
Some doctors are going one step further and are outright refusing to treat overweight patients. The Sun-Sentinel took a poll in 2011 of OB-GYNs in South Florida. Shockingly, it found that 14% of them had completely banned patients who weighed over 200 pounds.
What The Answer Really Is
Fat-shaming just does not work. Although it’s convenient to put the blame on overweight people themselves, it’s not the answer. Telling them to survive on lettuce or starve themselves until they’re thin is not making people thinner. If anything, it’s just making the problem worse and making people lose their sense of self-worth.
The obesity rate in the US has doubled since the 1980s. Since then, we’ve become obsessed with our weight, but no one is pointing the finger at the real culprit behind obesity – our food supply.
Surprisingly, Americans are eating fewer calories than they were in 2003. However, obesity is on the rise because of what we’re eating. Fast food is everywhere. Even in supermarkets, it’s cheaper and easier to buy processed foods than whole foods. In fact, 60% of the average American’s diet consists of processed foods.
Things Need to Change
Instead of telling obese people that they’re weak or lazy, we need to be really helping them. Doctors need to be helping them to figure out a proper meal plan that works, not just telling them to eat less. As well as that, the people in charge need to make it easier for people to afford healthy food and spread more awareness about the dangers of processed foods.
People will not lose weight if all you tell them is that they need to eat less. They already are eating less, but they’re still getting bigger. Because of this, we need to drastically change our attitudes towards obese people. Otherwise, the problem is only going to get worse from here.
Everything that we know about obesity is wrong. We’ve been taught blatant lies from the beginning and were told to judge people solely on their weight. Because of our disregard of these people, the problem of obesity has become a crisis. Unless we can make some serious changes, the quality of life for overweight people will continue to decline.
Share this article with your friends and family to show them how we can really help put a stop to obesity.