Friday, October 26, 2012

CURVY OR OVERWEIGHT?

(Image courtesy of www.fashionising.com)


(Image courtesy of  http://dirtywhorelebrity.com )
 I will never forget reading what Kate Moss was quoted as saying some time ago: “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. The fashion industry has often been slammed for predominantly sending out the message that thinner and skinnier is better.  I was one of many teenage girls who envied the models on the catwalk and in advertorials, not because of the nature of their work, but because of their size. I did what I could to follow the ‘skinny’ trend. I skipped meals and pranced around tirelessly to Cindy Crawford’s workout video. Of course like many girls, I fortunately grew out of this unhealthy obsession and learnt to accept my body and accept the fashion magazines for what they were, taking a little comfort in the fact that most photos were re-touched. Anyway, I clearly don’t hold any resentment towards the fashion industry for what they put me through during my teenage years; otherwise I wouldn't have such a passion for it now.


There are many campaigners fighting to abolish the cult of stick-thin, size zero models. I would imagine this is mainly to preserve the health, self-esteem and self-confidence of our younger generation, but they don’t appear to be winning the battle just yet given the models I still see on the catwalk and in fashion magazines. However, there has been a shift in recent years, which has seen a new type of model grace our fashion world – ‘Plus Size’ models – who are more ‘curvy’ and perhaps reflect a more realistic body. Sophie Dahl is probably one of the most famous iconic plus size models and more recently Ralph Lauren has been reported to have cast their first ‘plus size’ model.

(Image courtesy of Hollywood PR )
Despite the ‘skinny’ trend on the catwalk and in advertorials, you can’t deny that we are increasingly embracing curves; a trend that I’m quite happy about given I carry a little junk in my trunk!  Some of the women we now consider to be the hottest in the world are ‘curvy’  -  Kim Kardashian (above), Beyonce, Christina Hendricks, Jennifer Lopez – and we are also seeing brands such as Ultimo, Dove and Beaux Avenue embracing a more representative body image. I watched the first episode of the new series of America’s Next Top Model last week and it featured two plus-size models where one of them got picture of the week.

So, yes this is great news, we are moving towards accepting curvy as beautiful, but and it’s a big but (excuse the pun) when does curvy become a concern in terms of being overweight. I've seen a number of women classing themselves and accepting themselves as just being curvy, when actually in fact they are very much overweight or obese and this is a big problem in terms of health risk. It’s interesting to see that Sophie Dahl, the original plus size model, eventually lost the weight that made her so famous. Was this for health reasons or cosmetic reasons? That’s her business, but the point I want to make is, we must ensure we don’t go too far the other way and start defining overweight and obesity as a healthy plus-size or curvy model, because being overweight or obese is a big risk to your health.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a common method used to classify whether a person is an acceptable weight, overweight or obese.  Use the BMI calculator on this blog (see bottom of side panel) to work out your BMI and to determine whether you are indeed just ‘curvy’ or, to put it bluntly, whether some consideration should be given to trying to lose weight.

BMI Classification -  what’s yours?

BMI (kg/m2)
Classification
Health-Risks
18.5 – 24.9
Acceptable Weight
Low
25.0 – 29.9
Overweight
Increased
30.0 – 34.9
Obese
Markedly Increased
35.0 – 39.9
Moderately Obese
High
40 +
Morbidly Obese
Very High



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