Thursday, March 11, 2010

Should Obesity be Encouraged?

Do we really need more plus-size clothes in the retail world?  To believe Marketplace, we do.  In a segment on this evening's show, the NPR production revealed a gaping hole in the clothing market.  Obese professional women, it would appear, do not have many wardrobe options. 

Those interviewed are not looking at ten or twenty resistant pounds despite a healthy diet and regular movement.  One is size 22--this means she is clinically overweight.  This means she isn't at all healthy. 

The show is prefaced by the idea that the fashion industry only like stick-thin models, etc.  This is all well documented, but is the remedy to make sure the one third of Americans who are obese have appropriate clothing options?  I'm not talking about the vast majority of women who couldn't be in Vogue, and really wouldn't want to. I'm looking at those who are risking their very lives with their excessive weight.  Do we really need to tell them it's just fine to be morbidly obese?

I am old enough to remember when people used to be able to smoke in their offices.  I knew a good many who, when they knew they would suffer the indignity of standing outside to get their fix, decided it was finally time to quit.  Of course, the impetus behind these rules was the damage they were doing to others, but how many lives were extended by a couple of decades as a result of these laws?  Obesity is an epidemic, and to make an economic argument, the many illnesses that result from it cost our economy in lost productivity every day. 

Not all clothes should be size 2, and every body is different.  Marketplace points out there is a significant market in the Plus range, which some retailers are chasing.  It's a great business model, but so were low-tar cigarettes. Why can't we find a healthy medium between jutting bones and Type 2 diabetes?  


  1. I don't know if I find your comments rassuring or disturbing, since I can't get rid of the blasted 5 bs. that have now grown to almost 8 lbs. And I swear I'm following Weight Watchers! Well, maybe I'm cheating a bit.

  2. Five, ten, even twenty pounds is not a health concern. My point (although some might think it mean-spririted) is that people only change unhealthy habits when it becomes uncomfortable for them to continue--having to go outside to smoke when it's ten below, for example, can change behavior. Getting tired of not being able to find work-appropriate attire might push someone to be more mindful about what she is eating and try to get more exercise, and thus have the effect of improving her health.

  3. Sue--if you want to believe clothing attire in larger sizes is prohibiting a healthier lifestyle, maybe you should consider going after the food industry with the over abundance of processed foods that are more readily available & more affordable than organic foods.

    Your comment is like saying we shouldn't manufacture anything under a size 6 because it is promoting anorexia.

    It's absurd & ridiculous. You can be a 'size healthy' & have healthy habits, while being larger than what is projected in the media.

    Everyone--regardless of size has the right to feel beautiful & have self confidence. If a dress does that for someone, then so be it.

    BUT I don't think clothing will make people 'too comfortable' with solving their health issues. That is something you feel from the inside out.

    Your perception is really askew.