What People Misunderstand About Obesity

Chronic obesity has quickly become one of the most troubling diseases that keeps everyone worried. In a society that is increasingly concerned about health and also looks, it can be easy to be condescending towards obese people as the stereotype is that plus sized people are lazy or eat too much.  However, the reasons behind what causes obesity are not quite as simple as people think and research is still ongoing to figure it all out. Is it genetics? Diet and lack of exercise? Combination of both?


In a recent study done by NORC at the University of Chicago, 1,509 adults were asked to give their thoughts on what causes obesity as well as what they thought people with obesity could do in order to prevent it. The study, funded by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, found that concerns about obesity have risen. This is compared to just a few years ago, in a more limited survey, cancer was seen as the most serious health threat.

Now, it should be noted that throughout the years, researchers have determined that obesity isn’t just caused by eating the wrong foods or eating too much. What then are the reasons for obesity?

It goes beyond food intake – all the way down to genetics. From current research, it is deemed that certain genes may cause people to have more trouble when it comes to losing weight, whether it’d be due to their metabolism or just the constitution of their bodies.

Not just that, but there are people who are diagnosed with Chronic Obesity, which is an actual disease that can’t be treated simply by just exercising or dieting.

Unfortunately, that’s not how most of the people who took the survey perceived obesity. It’s not just the general public but doctors too, who said that they thought the problems behind obesity were more lifestyle choices than genetics.

Those surveyed as well as doctors thought that if people were suffering from Chronic Obesity, it was surely because they weren’t trying hard enough, or were lazy or lacked real willpower to exercise and diet.

The results of the survey have, understandably, worried a lot of researchers in the field as it goes to show just how little people seem to know about the truth behind Chronic Obesity. Not to mention that this social perception will also cause psychological issues with these people diagnosed with chronic obesity.

They note that, for a lot of doctors, it’s a matter of ignorance because they were not taught about chronic obesity as a disease and its causes in medical school, resulting in these medical experts to be only a little bit more knowledgeable on the subject than the public.

It’s especially disheartening because obesity does not just occur from eating too much or even being born with the disease. There have been accounts of people who have developed it thanks to side effects from certain medications that they have to take in order to survive.

At the same time, there have been accounts of people who have tried many times to lose weight through more conventional ways, but still have failed to succeed and have had to seek medical help.

This isn’t to say that exercise and diet don’t work, but it really depends on the individual. It also doesn’t help that people tend to look down on medical operations for dealing with obesity, as it seems like the ‘easy way out’. Thus, a lot of people suffering from obesity feel like they are judged twice – once based on their appearance; twice when they do something about their weight, people still judge them for the method of doing so. This goes back to the perception that fat people are lazy and therefore, are choosing surgery to lose weight instead of putting hard work and discipline in the gym and on their food intake.

We at The Wellness Insider encourage acceptance of all body types regardless of the circumstances. While we do write a lot of articles about staying healthy and exercising, what everyone has to understand is that you also have to accept a person’s appearance and that their body type is different from yours. If they’re happy the way they are or if they can’t just easily change who they are, then that’s also something that we have to accept.

Otherwise, you will be feeding into society’s trend of body shaming and perpetuating the cycle of negativity. Instead, we should all be supportive of one another no matter where we are on our health journey. We are a community and we’re stronger when we help each other rather than try to put others down.

When we accept that, then ‘obese’ or ‘obesity’ is no longer a label but an actual medical issue and treated as such. Don’t judge. After all, nobody’s perfect.

Photo credits: Wow Amazing, YTH, US News Health, Proud2BeMe


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