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  • In my hands I hold a scale.

  • And when I step on to this scale,

  • the numbers spin around and around,

  • and give me a number.

  • And in my case,

  • 100.

  • But what does this number really mean?

  • According to weight classification tables,

  • in relation to my height,

  • I am normal,

  • or ideal weight for my height.

  • Ok.

  • But my body has been subjected to much more

  • than just these medicalised terms, according to these weight tables.

  • I've been questioned as being anorexic

  • or sick looking.

  • And predominantly, I am the skinny bitch.

  • And in my personal encounter with this skinny bitch phenomena,

  • it comes pretty much in a one generalized form.

  • It's either I am on a diet, and everybody wants to know what it is,

  • and they are just waiting for me to give them this magic pill

  • and they will be skinny like me.

  • And when I tell them actually I am not everything in moderation,

  • I get this, "Uh," snotty lookas if I am lying.

  • So I'm a liar.

  • Or it comes in a different form.

  • Or, if they don't believe me, they think,

  • "Oh! you're one of those girls who can eat everything she wants

  • and doesn't gain a pound."

  • And there's a sense of hamminess between me and this person

  • this resentment.

  • I don't feel good about that.

  • And what was once just a number from a scale

  • has now characterized myself as a person and my health.

  • Critical theorists call this: "Weight-based discrimination".

  • And while weight-based discrimination is seen at all shapes and sizes,

  • one particular group of individuals,

  • those who are tip over the normal category,

  • have been particular subjects of this form of discrimination.

  • Yeah, I am talking aboutthe fat people.

  • And according to the literature, not only does the general population,

  • but professionals working to help these individuals,

  • whether it be: dietitians,

  • physicians, physiotherapist,

  • they have preconceived notions of them, based completely on their body.

  • For instance:

  • fat people are gluttonous,

  • fat people are lazy,

  • fat people are inactive.

  • A fat child is a child abuse

  • and a fat parent is a poor role model.

  • And again and again, I don't know how many times I've read this,

  • but a fat citizen is a burden to our straining health care system.

  • And while what I am presenting to you may not shock you,

  • what shocks me is how do we go from being raised

  • to not judge a book by its cover, but as mature adults

  • and health care professionals,

  • we do it on a daily basis.

  • And why?

  • Because of fear.

  • And what feed this fear is the overstated and misrepresentation

  • of the scientific claims underlying weight as a health indicator.

  • And so when we see claims like: "Risk of death increases with weight,"

  • or in other words,

  • the fatter you arethe more likely you are to die,

  • it feeds onto this fear,

  • and we somehow attach certainty to whatever we are reading.

  • But the evidence behind these scientific claims are actually quite conflicting.

  • Let's take a look at this study for one moment.

  • If we assessed the redline as a barometer of health,

  • so anybody below this redline has a lower risk of death,

  • compared to normal weight peoplethe ideal,

  • and anybody above has an increased risk of death.

  • I bring your attention to the lower part of the graph.

  • Our overweight and obese individuals actually have a reduced risk of death

  • than those who are normal weight.

  • But as citizens we want to not only live long, we want live healthy.

  • And so this may not intrigue us.

  • The second claim, that " fat people are unhealthy ",

  • that grabs our attention.

  • Well, they could live long but they're not healthy.

  • And one way that science objectifies health is by looking at some key indicators

  • that tell us something about your risk of death.

  • Key indicators such as: blood pressure,

  • your cholesterol level,

  • triglycerides, inflammation,

  • I am sounding like a textbook, I know,

  • insulin and your glucose level.

  • And all of these indicators packaged into one

  • give us a sort of indication of our risk of "heart disease" and "diabetes" —

  • the burdens of our health care system.

  • And so, what this study wanted to look at and see

  • is to see whether or not these package of indicators

  • are different in those who are fat and those who are not.

  • And this is what they saw: So normal weight individuals

  • Yes, most of them had a healthy profile.

  • So their blood glucose and all that stuff I talked about, that was kind of boring

  • actually was fine.

  • But, actually almost 25% of the normal weight individuals

  • actually had abnormal indicators.

  • Meaning that they would be in an increased risk of disease.

  • Hmm!

  • And this is about, according to the most recent

  • BMI prevalence of normal weight people,

  • this is about 1.5 million individuals

  • that are abnormal.

  • And so they looked at overweight.

  • Over 50% of the overweight individuals had metabolic health.

  • And what about obesethe really fat people?

  • One third are metabolically healthy.

  • That's 2.5 million people.

  • And while we can't ignore

  • that there's more of these abnormal metabolic individuals

  • at a higher weight,

  • we tend to ignore the fact that at every size we can see health.

  • And it's this ignorance that brings fire

  • and acceptably to weight-based discrimination.

  • And the consequences of this are not small

  • they're very severe:

  • body dissatisfaction, lower self-esteem,

  • impaired nutrition intake.

  • Looks like this

  • We will do anything to get to this thin ideal:

  • eating less, vomiting,

  • smoking more cigarettes.

  • Is this health promotion?

  • And so, we need to wake up.

  • As a society, we need to wake up

  • and see weight-based discrimination as a legitimate concern.

  • We need to think forward and critically analyze

  • the information we're getting regarding weight as an indicator of health.

  • And most importantly, as a society, we need to shift the focus away from

  • striving for this thin ideal, this "normality".

  • No one's normal.

  • But this health ideal,

  • and this health ideal looks and feels

  • different for each and every one of us.

  • And so,

  • what does this number really mean on this scale?

  • With scientific certainty in light,

  • it's gravity's pull on your body.

In my hands I hold a scale.

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B1 US weight health fat discrimination ideal normal

【TEDx】TEDxRyersonU - Julie Rochefort - Shift the Focus

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    阿多賓 posted on 2016/01/11
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