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Body Image Concepts Need Rethink

‘People need to rethink their concepts of body image and obesity,’ says Canadian educator Jonathan. ‘We know people can be fit and fat,’ he told those attending a Health At Every Size forum.

 

‘The keys to a healthy weight is “normal eating,” described as natural, relaxed, appropriate consumption that avoids overeating; as well as an active lifestyle and a self-acceptance of the body a person has by rejecting seductive idealized images of skinny models in the media,’ said Robison, a Michigan professor with expertise in health education, exercise physiology and human nutrition.

Ashley Skinner, 26, who struggled with anorexia from six to 20 years of age said in an interview it was vital for her to improve her attitude toward her body and build self-esteem to overcome anorexia ‘I really wish I had heard messages like this when I was growing up,’ she said.

Robison called for a “new peace movement” to make a societal shift from weight-centred to health-focused, where “thin is not in” and fat is not seen invariably as leading to an early grave.

 

People, he stressed, come in all weights and sizes and need not spend their lives struggling unsuccessfully to lose pounds and keep them off. (Ninety-five per cent of dieting people gain the weight back within five years, he reported.)

 

Robison described a healthy weight as where the body settles when people transition into active, fulfilling and meaningful lives where they feel comfortable with their fitness and eating habits. He termed society’s obsession with thin bodies as “weightism,” and put it “on the same level” as racism, sexism and homophobia.

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