Friday, May 19, 2017

Fat and healthy?

Many of us, myself included, have heard people say “I’m fat, but that doesn’t mean I’m not healthy; I am healthy”, or words to that effect. This argument has been disputed by a University of Birmingham study (presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto Portugal) that concluded that it is not possible to be overweight and healthy.

The electronic GP health records of 3.5 million adults between 1995 and 2015 were analysed. All participants were initially free from the metabolic abnormalities: diabetes, high blood pressure and abnormal blood fats [hyperlipidemia]. Metabolically healthy obese individuals were then defined as those participants that did not have any of the aforementioned abnormalities.

Researchers then investigated whether the risk of developing either coronary heart disease, a stroke, heart failure or peripheral vascular disease (PVD) was different for normal weight people versus people in the metabolically healthy obesity group. The results showed that “metabolically healthy” obese people are still at a higher risk of heart disease or a stroke than those within the normal weight range.

When compared with individuals of normal weight, overweight participants had increased risk of coronary heart disease (50%), increased risk of a stroke (7%) and double the risk of heart failure.

Lead researcher Dr Rishi Caleyachetty said:

“Metabolically healthy obese individuals are at higher risk of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and heart failure than normal weight metabolically healthy individuals.

“The priority of health professionals should be to promote and facilitate weight loss among obese persons, regardless of the presence or absence of metabolic abnormalities.”

He also argued that the term “metabolically healthy obesity, was misleading and should be changed, because it is not a harmless condition.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

To The Women Who Gained Weight In College


To The Women Who Gained Weight In College: A blog post by Kenia Calderon:

This is for all the women who are learning to love themselves after gaining weight.

I love seeing women show their before and after pictures after losing their unwanted weight. However, I think we also need to see women show their progress in other forms of self love.

Over the past three years I’ve gained more weight than ever before. At the beginning I hated the way I was starting to look, but at the time I could do nothing about it. My battle with depression had returned, and I was busy with school, work, and meetings from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. I was too busy keeping myself sane and alive. 
My health continued to deteriorate. I’d never been one to eat extreme amounts of junk food so it was clear this was something much bigger than I could handle on my own.

At first, comments like “oh, you look different,” “you seem a little chunkier lately,” and my favourite one, “I have a diet you could try,” made me feel insecure and ashamed. .....

Continue reading


Friday, May 12, 2017

France bans 'unrealistic' beauty




A new law means that French models will have to have a doctor's certificate detailing their body mass index (BMI), which compares weight in relation to height health.

The French health ministry has stated that the objective behind the law is to confront head on, the issues of eating disorders and inaccessible ideals of beauty. Anorexia affects between 30,000 to 40,000 people in France, 90% of whom are women.

In addition digitally altered photos will need to be clearly labelled from 1 October. Manipulated images
(where a model's appearance has been altered) must be marked ‘photographie retouchée’ (English: retouched photograph).

Regarding BMI, the new law does not set a yes/no criteria, instead it put the onus on doctors to decide whether a model is too thin; taking into account their weight, age, and body shape.

Employers breaking the law could face fines of up to 75,000 euros (£63,500; $82,000) and up to six months in jail.

"Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour," said France's Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Marisol Touraine, in a statement on the matter.

France’s legislation on underweight models follows similar laws in Italy, Spain and Israel.


Monday, May 08, 2017

Embracing being 7ft 7

Paul Sturgess from Loughborough is officially Britain's tallest man. He is also in the Guinness book of records for being the tallest professional basketball player (five years), which has given him opportunities to play with the World famous Harlem Globetrotters (three years).

Standing 7 foot 7 (and a little bit) tall, Paul weighs 25 stones and eats approximately 7000 calories a day when training. He takes a size 19 shoe which are difficult to source; he is forced to spend time searching for footwear online. Clothes are easier to find as he spends a lot of his time in America, which has a large number of tall people, thus allowing him to buy clothes off the rack. Paul’s associations with basketball have also provided opportunities for team sponsorship; he is sent clothes and other products.

Speaking on ITV’s This Morning Paul said:

“[Some things] are quite difficult for me, but I take the negatives with the positives”.

Apart from shoes, negatives of being 7ft 7 include not been able to drive in the UK (he has been unable to find a driving instructor with a car big enough to take lessons in), going through doorways and showering.

Positives include i) basketball which has allowed him to travel all over the world (38 countries) and America (every state) to play exhibition basketball, ii) being regularly upgraded to business class when travelling on aeroplanes and iii) most people being welcoming and wanting to know about him.

"I am really really proud of who I am”, he said, “and obviously the height makes me that. I'm actually using my height to go into primary schools to do basketball with the kids and assemblies where I talk about anti-bullying and healthy eating. So it's easy for me to use my height to portray a positive message”.

Looking ahead to when his basketball career comes to an end Paul is actively looking at expanding his options and is contemplating acting; he join an agency a few weeks ago.

This is a great example of someone embracing his his/her body and moving forward with a positive attitude.


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Loose Women -MyBodyMyStory

ITV’s Loose Women have taken a photo wearing swimwear in support of the #MyBodyMyStory  campaign.

The un-airbrushed, unfiltered photograph, taken by singer-songwriter and photographer Bryan Adams, can be seen on billboards around the country. The stated objective behind the image is to encourage women to love their bodies and accept their flaws, whatever their age or size.

Commenting on the project Bryan Adams said: “It was a funny thing to get a call and be asked to do this… and what I thought was interesting about the brief was, they wanna be natural, they don't want any retouching, and they want it to be real, and I thought, ‘Ok! that sounds really good!’ So the fact that all of the women were all being really honest about how they are, I thought, ‘Well that's great.’”

Comments from some of the Loose Women featured in the photograph include:

Host Andrea McLean: “I hope people see the pictures for what they are; real women, not edited or airbrushed, letting their body tell their story. Since the shoot my confidence has really increased.”

Nadia Sawalha: “I have wasted more time than I can to think of over my body issues. I’ve always hated being naked. I felt quite panic stricken at the thought of getting my body out in front of myself never mind a rock god! Stepping into the studio in my bra and pants was beyond cringe. There I was stretch marks, cellulite and all the battle scars of life for all to see with the knowledge that there would be zero airbrushing.”

Janet Street-Porter spoke of her part in the pictures. She explained: “It’s really important to do this campaign because I want women all over Britain to learn to love their body. Our bodies are brilliant – it’s your weapon!”

Coleen Nolan revealed: “I hope other women with body shapes like mine feel they can also be proud of themselves - there's no perfect person in the world - we all come in different ages, shapes and sizes and life is too short to spend it hating yourself because you not a size 8 or 21 anymore.”


Thursday, April 27, 2017

The onscreen objectification of men and women

When we think about objectification we normally think of women; however when it comes to the onscreen world, movies in particular, men are also objectified.

At the recent Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 press conference a reporter talked to Actor Chris Pratt and director James Gunn about objectification; more specifically the requirement, of Marvel hero’s, to bare their chest (men) or wear revealing clothes (women) in the movie.

“It hasn’t hurt my career!” said Chris “We are objects. It’s true, we are. We’re props. They shine a light on us, they paint us up with makeup, and they take a camera and point it at us. Half the time, what ruins it is us talking.
“I would say that objectification is good for me because when I turned my body into an object that people liked, I got paid a lot of money. My kids can go to college because I’m an object. As a man, I can say that.”

When Chris was asked whether he thought there was a double standard in how women compared to men were objectified he accepted that the sexes were treated differently: “I have to be careful because for generations — for millennia — women have been objectified in a way where there’s a pretty horrifying past. So that’s a little bit different, and there probably is what you’d call a double standard, but I think you have to deal with them separately because there’s a history of objectification [with women] that is a sensitive issue.”

James Gunn then added his own thoughts on the objectification of women and men in movies: “It’s not about being sexually attractive or thought of as a beautiful object,” said James. “It’s about the fact that many women in films today are reduced to being only that. When Chris Pratt looks beautiful onscreen, or Chris Evans looks beautiful onscreen … in all honesty, people take that in [stride] and then they still go, ‘But what’s that guy like? What’s his personality?’”

“Chris Pratt is great because he’s funny and he’s sexy and he’s got this vulnerable side — there’s all these different attributes about him,” the director continued. “Whereas men take these women and all that they’re [reduced to] is this one aspect of themselves, that they’re sexual beings. Everything else about their personalities is negated. That’s the really difficult thing, and why it isn’t exactly a one-to-one thing between men and women being objectified.”

James hopes that Guardians 2, which adds Nebula (Karen Gillan) to the titular team alongside her sister Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and introduces kooky telepath Mantis (Pom Klementieff) as well as imperious ruler Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), can prove that female characters are more than mere window dressing in comic-book movies.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Different sized women standing next to each other

Georgia Gibbs, 21 and Kate Wasley, 22 are friends. There was nothing unusual or noteworthy about their friendship until a picture they posted of themselves on Instagram received a lot of negative feedback. Why?
Georgia is a size 6 model and is viewed as being fit and healthy. Kate, on the other hand, is a size 16 plus-size model.

The online criticism was aimed at Georgia, accusing her of posting a photoshopped picture of herself next Kate so that she would look slimmer and my implication, making Kate look worse.

“The response shocked us both,” Gibbs said.
“People calling Kate overweight, and me too skinny. We realized people aren’t used to seeing two different sized women standing next to each other.”

Speaking on ITV’s This Morning Kate said it was ridiculous that people assumed she should feel bad posing next to her slimmer friend, as the models called on women to 'quit the comparison'.

'Why should I [feel bad]?' Kate asked. 'But that's what people are thinking, because everyone is so obsessed with looking the best on social media”.

“Society’, responded Georgia, “has a little bit of an issue with two girls two different sizes being next to each other, and the thing is we want to make it a norm. We've never looked at ourselves as different, so why should anyone else?”

In response to their unexpected notoriety, the two women
have created an Instagram account called Any Body Co.

Kate said it was inspired by how 'shocked' people were at seeing her and Georgia next to each other, adding they want to encourage women to stop being 'so hard on ourselves'.

'Our whole thing now is to be who you are. Our intention is to encourage all women to quit the comparison.
'Individuality is something that should be celebrated, healthy bodies come in different shapes and sizes.'


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Teens preoccupied with how they look

The new series of BBC1’s Child Of Our Time, hosted by Professors Tanya Byron and Robert Winston aired last week.

In the first episode they looked at the effects of biology and technology on the body image of modern teenagers.

Professor Winston stated: “All our teenagers are more concerned about the way they look and their body image than they ever were as children”.

When the teens were 7 years old, the BBC asked them what they felt about their bodies. They were shown a set of images and asked to select the one that was most like them. They were then asked if they would prefer to look like one of the other images. On the whole, the children were happy with their body.

However, at 16 the teenagers are now much more critical of their appearance. Unlike when they were 7, given the choice most of them would prefer a different body”. The teen’s body image comments included:

'I would like to be taller, less fat.'
‘ I would prefer myself with a slimmer frame'.
‘I am a bit too skinny, I would just like to be able to put on a bit more weight. Being called anorexic is not too great'.

Most people recognize the fact that teenagers tend to be self-conscious. Science now points to a particular change in the teenage brain. In experiments with adults and teenagers, an adult brains shows little activity when asked to think about being judged by others, while teenagers show a huge amount of activity. The part of the brain of interest is called the Prefrontal Cortex; it is associated with how we perceive others and how we think others perceive us. During the teenage years, the Prefrontal Cortex undergoes enormous changes, resulting in a preoccupation in what teenagers think others think about them.

Alongside brain changes; technological change, social media in particular, has created an environment where teens are constantly posting selfies online, which are then judged by others. This effects, significantly in many cases, teenage body image and confidence.

“The combination of a world obsessed with selfies and a brain extra sensitive to the judgment of others”, concluded Professor Winston, “means that it is no surprise that today's teens are preoccupied with how they look”.


Thursday, April 06, 2017

'Apprehensive about taking my wig off'

Victoria Derbyshire has posted a video diary titled 'Taking my wig off'. In the video she expresses her feelings about her hair, wig, cancer and body image”

“Okay, so it's time to stop wearing a wig, which I have been wearing since December 2015, since I had chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment.

“Probably about ½ my hair maybe ¾ of my hair fell out as a result of the treatment. I have to say losing my hair was the worst bit about cancer treatment for me; more so then having a mastectomy. Don't judge me for that, it's just the way I felt. I am grateful to this wig actually, because it helped me get on with things, go to work, live my life normally without worry, it is time for it to go”.

[Victoria takes of her wig]

“This is my new hair, this is about 12 months growth since chemo finished and it's come back as thick as it was if not thicker; as shiny as it was, slightly more 'ringlety' than it was before, but I am actually apprehensive about taking my wig off, because this is not me. I know it doesn't really matter what my hair looks like, the point is this, if proof was needed, once chemotherapy is complete your hair does grow back. When you're in some of those dark moments during chemo, you do doubt that, as irrational and absurd as that sounds.

“Your body does slowly renew itself once chemo is complete and there is something really optimistic about that."


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Inactivity and health

There is a warning that sedentary lifestyles could be slowly killing you.

A new report from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) states that 20 million Britons are physically inactive totaling 31% of the population. "Inactive" is defined as not achieving the government guidelines for physical activity of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week and strength activities on at least two days a week.

The report identifies a north south divide across England with people in the north-west the most inactive 47%, compared to the south east, the most active region, totaling 34%. 

Click on image to view enlargement.

The male versus female findings, show that each year men spent a fifth of their time or 78 days inactive (sitting down) why females spent 74 days.

More than 5 million deaths worldwide are attributed to physical inactivity. In the UK alone it causes one in ten premature deaths from coronary heart disease, and one in six deaths overall. Evidence shows keeping physically active can reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease by as much as 35% and risk of early death by as much as 30%.

Dr Mike Knapton, BHF Associate Medical Director, said: “Physical inactivity is one of the most significant global health crises of the moment. Levels of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour in the UK remain stubbornly high, and combined these two risk factors present a substantial threat to our cardiovascular health and risk of early death”.


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