I get a daily news alert from Google on stories concerning obesity. I don't read them very often, but did take a look at this one this morning, titled "Obesity: Tougher on Women's Health."
There's not much detail in the article, which ends up being rather inconclusive. According to Columbia University's Dr. Peter Muennig,
"… women suffer a disproportionate burden of disease attributable to overweight and obesity, mostly because of differences in health-related quality of life."But the WebMD article concludes: "The study doesn't suggest all overweight women are headed for health problems. Not everyone who's overweight is unhealthy. And being lean doesn't guarantee good health."
So I went searching for the article. Here's the abstract. [You have to be a subscriber to get the full text.] It didn't tell me much more. But CNN offers a more detailed interpretation of the study, including this from Dr. Muennig:
"To me what makes more sense is that there's just a lot more social stigma associated with being overweight amongst females, and that that causes a lot more stress and distress," Muennig said. "There's evidence showing that high levels of stress can increase your risk of morbidity and mortality."Here's a thought: Maybe the mass media should quit offering so much information about obesity. Better yet, maybe women should quit listening to mass media. [I think this means I might have to quit watching The Biggest Loser.]
"The findings provide evidence, he added, that "the message that women are getting in the mass media about their weight is actually more harmful than we previously thought."
We women traditionally are nurturers, but we usually are nurturing others. If we could somehow teach our daughters and granddaughters that it's okay to care for ourselves first, that physical play is fun for life, and that fresh food tastes better than fast food, obesity levels in the next generation or two would drop while self-esteem would rise.
And if we could teach those things without mentioning body size, how much better would that be?
But the best? Let's lead by example. My mother didn't do a very good job, nor have I. My daughter seems to be breaking that chain. And I'm not done yet.