Given that Channel 10’s “The Biggest Loser” has just kicked off for the year, I wanted to draw attention to the unhealthy preoccupation with excessive weight loss that we see all too often, and to the injustice of labelling those who are overweight in a negative way. You may recall a piece I wrote on this that was published in The Sydney Morning Herald in 2009: ‘The burden of treating girls’ bodies as the enemy.”
This year, to again provoke discussion on this topic, I am sharing two excellent videos. The first was produced by Yale University and is introduced as follows:
Overweight and obese youth are frequently teased, tormented, and victimized because of their weight. Weight-based teasing and stigma (also called ‘weight bias’) can have a detrimental impact on both emotional well-being and physical health. The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University has released this new video to increase youth awareness about weight bias, and to highlight strategies to help combat this rapidly growing problem for overweight adolescents. This video shows the story of Bene, a girl who is teased and victimized about her weight at school. In response to the daily teasing she confronts, Bene decides to educate her classmates about weight bias by making her own under-cover video to address the stigma that overweight youth encounter. Presented by Rebecca Puhl, PhD, Marlene Schwartz, PhD and Karen Dorsey, MD.
Well worth showing, and discussing, with the young people you care about. As is this video from the US National Eating Disorders Association, which highlights the absurd and distressing situation of young girls obsessing about their weight.
Stop Press – you may also find this excellent Opinion Piece by Noelle Graham thought provoking reading: Big Girls Do Cry