Edit: No sooner then two hours after posting the below Article, Rory sent on this Journal.ie link. According to the article, Ireland will be the fattest country in Europe by 2030 if we continue on the same path as we currently are on. Something that validates and backs up the arguments that current measures to combat this problem are not working!
According to this RTÉ news article from 2014, an average of 58% of the people in Ireland over the age of 20 are either overweight or obese. From what I have personally seen in public, I would not be shocked at these figures and would actually say that they have probably risen since the time the source report was published.
Admittedly, this is far from the most scientific source of information but the numbers can’t be vastly off. At the end of the day it is clear, either through scientific study or just from day to day life, that people in Ireland (And the rest of the world) are getting fatter. This epidemic is being caused not only by an increase in processed food consumption but also the fact that a good portion of people don’t have the knowledge on how to cook themselves healthy meals.
The problem is further compounded by the fact that, given the numbers above, the majority of people are overweight. People are quick to compare themselves to others and a glance around will put them “no worse” then the majority of their friends and peers. This can often mask the severity of the problem because when any one person compares themselves to the average, they are either better or not far off.
I’m sure that this fact is a huge aspect of the problem, one that causes people to not realise they are putting their bodies at an elevated risk of a number of different health issues. Potentially it is causing hundreds, if not thousands, of people to not realise they are overweight just because they are “average” and have no immediate underlying health issues.
The impacts of being very overweight are not just limited to physical appearance or even obvious health issues like heart attacks, diabetes or cancer. Other health issues include the inability for certain treatments or surgeries due to the patients weight. It is unfortunately becoming quite common to hear stories of people having to be turned away from procedures due to the elevated risks associated with general anesthetic, infection and blood loss when paired with a higher body fat level.
As the frequency of these cases started to rise a term called “Fat Shaming” was used by some naive and ignorant patients to negate the issues they were being told by health care professionals and rather blamed a prejudiced mindset against the overweight for being turned away. They were exhibiting the trademark actions of an entitled and spoiled brat too lazy to take a good and honest look at themselves. Before too long Fat Shaming became more and more common and spread its wings into everyday life.
Fat Shaming – A term used to describe malicious and hurtful comments made about someones physical, mental or emotional capacity based off their excessive weight and elevated body fat levels alone.
Now we hear stories of morbidly obese people using their weight to lever and manipulate people into getting what they want. Skipping queues, taking disabled spaces or mobility scooters – Anything. In the unlikely chance that they don’t get what they want they cry “Fat Shaming, Fat Shaming, You’re just not giving me what I want because you don’t like overweight people”. I mean, what do you even say to that?
Of course, this is all very extreme and it is highly unlikely that someone carrying just a few extra pounds would start going on like this, but the less extreme side is becoming incredibly common. The refusal to take ones weight and body image into their own hands, the exception that processed food companies should just make heather food and the lack of taking personal control to go and learn how to deal with it are all examples of mild forms of the Fat shaming mindset.
Now, I’m not to say that we go around and call everyone who is over weight a lazy slob and excommunicate them from general society until they sort their lives out. I’m not even saying that we make a crazy big deal about it. We are all people with feelings, insecurities and issues that we wish we didn’t have. There are a host of possible underlying and misunderstood mental and emotional issues that are frequently the main drivers behind fat gain and negating those and just bombarding people with insults against their weight is definitely not the way to go.
On the other side of the coin however, pussyfooting around the issue will do nothing either. We need to be clear and frank with everyone in this world, from old to young, that we have a problem and help one another to solve it, and this is where the Pros Of Fat shaming come in.
When you’re friend asks if you think they could do with losing weight, “fat shame” them and tell them the truth. If someone asks if something fits them and it doesn’t, tell them that is possibly because they have a bit of extra weight. If someone you play sports with is under performing due to carrying too many pounds, say they would find it easier if they lost it. Part of the reason we even end up here in the first place is by being too nice and if we don’t accept that a certain level of fat shaming is required, one to help bring everyone’s awareness back, we will never even start to get these issues solved.
In the end, our average has now moved away from the “norm” – the healthy range for humans to be, and without a little fat shaming, tough love, it wont get any better!