Focus Should be on Fitness, Not Necessarily Body Size

Focus Should be on Fitness, Not Necessarily Body Size

By Alec Lechner, Contributing Reporter

Body dysmorphia is a mental illness where a person is severely dissatisfied with the way they look. People with this illness can look completely normal to others, or may even be attractive and physically fit. However, a person with this disorder is never satisfied with the way they look and don’t see themselves as others see them. Some may starve themselves into anorexia, or exercise vigorously to lose weight, even if they’ve only ingested a stick of gum. Other sufferers could be body builders who look buff to others but who see themselves as small and weak. These people are never satisfied with their image. Our generation, however, is starting to change their health and fitness practices.

Over 73 percent of girls are dissatisfied with their bodies by age 18. In correlation to this, there are an increasing number of personal trainers and physical therapists joining the work force.

The personal training field is growing by 8 percent and people are finding diverse ways to exercise. There are new gyms and types of training for everyone, whether it be yoga, CrossFit, biking classes or lifting weights. More than ever, people now have more options for how they exercise. New health programs in our schools also do more to promote healthy eating, and TV shows encourage people to change their lifestyles and get to a healthy weight.

Recently, the “Health at Every Size” movement has maintained that you can be considered to be healthy no matter your size. The healthy body movement focuses on maintaining a healthy BMI to prevent high blood pressure, obesity, and other chronic conditions associated with excess weight. A majority of doctors agree that you can be healthy so long as your weight does not get to the point where chronic conditions are at a higher risk. People who are overweight and yet are considered to be “healthy” in most other areas besides weight, still have a 50 percent chance of coronary heart disease according to the International Journal of Obesity.

While society has come a long way in understanding that health is more important than our looks,

we also need to be careful of swinging too far to the other extreme. Sure, we don’t want to promote the stick-thin super model, but saying that the human anatomy cannot be affected by excessive amounts fats and sugars is naive and misleading. Scientific research should have precedent over activism because it affects the decisions people make and the way people choose to live their lives.