Feed on


This CNN article from last year is a great summative example of the information provided in Chapter 5 of Eating Right in America. Since around the 1950′s, health in America has focused heavily on the ideal body size, based on BMI and thinness. However, this trend is mainly based on socially constructed health and ideal body image paradigms in America.

This article presents the findings from a study that describe the increased risk of earlier death for obese people, but the decreased overall risk of death for obese people compared to “normally” sized people. This doesn’t make much sense, due to the fact that the risk of death for all humans is 100%–we are all going to die eventually.

The author goes on to define the differences between fatness and fitness, emphasizing the importance of exercise and being physically fit on health. They argue that thinness does not equate health and being fit will get you a lot further in life.

3 Responses to “What is more important: fitness or thinness?”

  1. melzakin says:


    In discussing the stigmas related to fatness, I have been wondering about how football players fit into our society. In many ways they are a group of glorified individuals, yet by our present standards, the majority of them are overweight or even obese. If these individuals were anywhere but the playing field, they would be labelled as unhealthy and told to lose weight; yet these same people are extremely physically fit and active. Shouldn’t this be a clue that being overweight is not necessarily detrimental to one’s health?

    The above article discusses the implications of having larger and larger athletes. In my opinion, football linemen, even though overweight (according to BMI), are healthy people. However, this article describes how being an athlete and being overweight can have negative health implications. I feel like this article focuses on the size of the athletes, versus their overall health and fitness, something that many people are inclined to do.

  2. leahlanghans says:

    I thought this article was very interesting. The negative health implications of being an overweight athlete certainly make sense, but I agree with you that overall health an fitness are somewhat overlooked. I know as for myself, I tend to equate overall health and fitness with what people are capable of doing. Whether that be on the playing field, in the swimming pool, or on the track, I am not inclined to believe that professional or olympic athlete is under any circumstances “overweight.”
    I think a good example of this is Lolo Jones. Jones competed as a track athlete in the 2012 summer olympics and as a bobsled athlete in the 2014 winter olympics. In between that time she went from 133 pounds to 161 pounds gaining a total of 28 pounds, something almost unheard of by such elite athletes. However, this weight gain (most of it muscle mass) was essential to her new sport, and by no means did it slow her down.

  3. alimeisel says:

    Of course, this article reminded me of what we’ve been talking about in class, but it also made me question the intelligence of people all across America. Personally, I take health advice from my doctor and pretty much no one else. When people try to lose weight because it’s “in,” I see that as a fad, but when we start bouncing back and forth between what’s correct and what’s made up, I don’t understand why we don’t all abandon these cites and go speak with a doctor. While science might not be able to tell us what leads to heart problems and what exactly causes early death, doctors know the signs of disease and can suggest treatments to reverse these signs. Of course, prevention is as important as treatment, but I wish we as Americans didn’t underestimate the reality that each individual is different, and a CNN article just might not hold all the answers for you.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.