Is it Okay to be Overweight?

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Margo Eugenio, ENN Staff

With songs such as “Truth Hurts” and “Good as Hell” dominating the radio waves, Lizzo has become one of the most popular musicians of the past year. However, recently the singer has received some criticism from celebrity trainer and former host of the popular reality T.V. show, “The Biggest Loser,” Jillian Michaels. During an appearance on BuzzFeed’s News’ “AM to DM” Michaels voiced some controversial comments after questioning why Lizzo’s body is praised. Also, in an interview with Extra TV on Monday, Michaels decided to back up her claims saying that denying the correlation between being overweight and serious health issues was not something she is wishing to sugar coat. Michaels received much backlash from celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg and Jameela Jamil, in addition to several social media users that came to the singer’s defense. On Thursday’s episode of “The View” Goldberg came to the 8 time Grammy nominated singer’s defense stating that Lizzo should be celebrated and that she is thrilled the musician is a big-figured woman. In response to Goldberg’s comments, Michaels replied that she did, in fact, celebrate Lizzo and that it’s unfortunate her stance on weight was directed towards the female singer. The situation between the trainer and singer isn’t the first of its kind and sparks the questioning of society’s treatment of plus sized people.

With social media occupying the time of young people across the nation, it’s no secret that people can be overly judgmental of certain body types. Historically, society has placed an expectation, especially on women, to look a particular way. Recently, plus sized people are more accepted than in years past. Junior, Madeleine Bush, recognizes this transition of various body types being praised.

“Society has always placed a standard on people to look a certain way. For women, that standard is to be skinny, whereas, for men, that standard is to be tall and muscular. I have recognized recently however, that plus sized men and women are widely more accepted than ever before,” Bush said.

It is no secret that being overweight or obese can be accompanied by severe health problems. According to an article published by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in February of 2015, being overweight or obese can lead to an increased risk of contracting type 2 diabetes, having high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, in addition to a variety of digestive diseases. Once some of these problems become present in someone, the effects can be very hard to reverse.

The more accepted body types highlight the fine line between acceptance and the neglect of what is severely unhealthy. It raises the question of whether is ethically okay to celebrate being overweight or obese. Junior, Sarah Cole, believes that one must be very careful when approaching the grey area between acceptance and ignoring the unhealthy habits in terms of people who are overweight.

“In today’s world, it is okay to be plus sized. It is okay and acceptable to look anyway you choose. It’s no one’s place to judge another person’s body type. However, I do think it is important to recognize the potential for severe health risks when someone is overweight,” said Cole.

Similarly, junior, Natalie Wyatt, believes that it is important to recognize the potential for certain health risks when someone is overweight. Wyatt pointed out that the musician is a role model for young children and it’s important to teach them a good, healthy lifestyle.

“Lizzo is plus sized, and it’s not right for anyone else to judge that aspect of her life. If she understands the health problems that could accompany that lifestyle, then it is her choice. Her choice does, however, impact her younger fans and I think it is important for her to emphasize living a healthy life. Society has begun to praise plus sized men and women, and while there is nothing wrong with that act itself, it is important for society to also acknowledge the potential health risks,” Wyatt said.

Society’s treatment of those that are overweight or obese has significantly changed overtime. While it is important to highlight that there are different body types and all are beautiful, it is also important to realize that certain body types are more susceptible to health concerns. If both of these aspects can be acknowledged, then society is better off.