Parents Confused About Healthy and Thin Dilemma

“Parents face a complicated situation,” Brownell says. “They have to promote healthy weight, but they also don’t want to change children into diet-crazed fanatics.”

There was a great article in Time Magazine regarding the much discussed “thin and happy” vs. “fat and unhealthy” medical/media beef. A must read.

The dilemma is born due to the connection, albeit societal, between fat=unhealthy=unhappy and thin=healthy=happy. Many are reluctant to admit that people who don’t fit the thin ideal can actually be healthy and happy. Of course, this creates havoc on our children and their sense of body confidence.

The dilemma is further fueled by research determined to prove that thin does indeed equal happy and healthy. Although some has provided other perspectives:

Reports on adults in similar situations have conflicted. Since the 1970s, doctors at the nonprofit Cooper Institute in Dallas have gathered data from more than 100,000 patients who have been weighed, measured and made to run on treadmills while their vital signs are monitored. “We’ve long concluded that people who are overweight and active can be healthier than those who are thin but sedentary,” says Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the institute’s director. “There’s no reason to believe that conclusion doesn’t apply to our children too.”

Much of the overweight and obesity research reiterates that medically overweight and obese children are doomed to medical and social problems. Some celebs, such as Nikki Blonsky and Queen Latifah provide visual confirmation otherwise. But most people are quick to point out the Chris Farleys and Kirstie Alleys of the world– those who were overweight and unhealthy.  And of course, they’re also quick to highlight the buff bods of the music and movie world in magazines and media all over.

In this article, Nikki Blonsky is quick to point out that she is into fitness– something Latifah has also expressed. They are also happy and successful, something research continually tells us is more and more improbable as children and adults deviate more and more from the thin ideal.

So what do you think? Does thin=healthy=happy? Does fat=unhealthy=unhealthy? Or are other configurations alive and well? Let’s start a discussion. Tell us what you think.

Photo creds: PussyCat Dolls, Matt Sayles / AP

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One Response

  1. My sister has anorexia….she has spent her life being thin. Granted most of the time too thin. But, I can tell you right now …she is far from healthy or happy. I am what you might consider “curvy” and i am definitely healthier than her and I guess most of the time happier.

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