In the United States, approximately one in three adults are classified as obese ( Flegal, Kruszon-Moran, Carroll, Fryar, & Ogden, 2016 ), defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m 2 . These numbers are even higher among women, with 40.4% of American women being classified as
Gabrielle Ringenberg, Jill M. Maples and Rachel A. Tinius
Roger L. Hammer, Daryl McCombs and A. Garth Fisher
It has been suggested that weight loss and regain, known as weight cycling, may result in greater body fatness and increased upper body fat distribution which may lead to adverse health consequences. These are concerns that may discourage some obese women from undergoing weight loss efforts. We retested 44 obese women, who took part in one of two weight control studies conducted in our laboratory, at either 6 or 12 months posttreatment. The followup study was performed to determine whether percent body fat and waist/hip ratio (WHR) had increased in those subjects who failed to maintain their weight loss. Subjects lost (mean + SD) 8.6 + 1.2 kg body weight, of which 7.0 + 1.0 kg was fat, and reduced their WHR by 0.03 + 0.006 (all p’s < .01) after either 12 or 16 weeks of treatment comprised of eating a low-fat diet, and in most cases performing endurance exercise training. At followup subjects were divided into groups based on the amount of weight regained. Those who regained (n=19) their lost weight were not fatter nor was their WHR higher than before the study began. These results do not support claims that weight cycling, in this case a single cycle, increases overall percentage of body fat or causes a redistribution of fat to the abdominal region of women.
The recent construction of a so-called “obesity epidemic” has been fueled by epidemiologically-based studies recuperated by the media and suggestions of the rapid acceleration of obesity rates in the Western world. Studies linking obesity to ill-health have also exploded and greatly impacted our “physical” culture. In this article, I present a series of postcards to summarize the dominant obesity discourse and document the rhetorical terrain of the impending epidemic. I also offer counter-postcards to dispute the postcards’ objective postulations and contextualize the birth of what I call the “Obesity Clinic.” I then characterize this polymorphous clinic as an apparatus of capture sustained by biomedicalization, bioeconomics, and biocultural discourses and speak to its regulation and abjection of unruly (fat) bodies. I conclude with a few reflections about the territorializing nature of the Obesity Clinic as well as what it means for individuals and, more generally, for physical culture and its study.
A number of scholars have noted the increased social currency that a risk vocabulary has come to assume in late modernity. This vocabulary has been deployed in discourses o physical inactivity and obesity, wherein children have increasingly been identified as an at-risk population leading a sedentary lifestyle, which is culturally represented as a primary risk factor for obesity and ultimately ill health. This article explores the usefulness of Foucault’s governmental perspective in problematizing the function served and effects produced by a risk vocabulary within discourses and practices directed at intervening in the childhood inactivity and obesity epidemics with a specific focus on the Canadian context.
Rikki A. Cannioto
Despite much research investigating physical activity (PA) barriers for American women, the PA barriers experienced by overweight and obese working women remain largely unexamined. This preliminary investigation assessed the PA barriers, behaviors, and beliefs of 40 overweight/obese women with full-time desk jobs for the subsequent development and implementation of a tailored “healthy weight” wellness program. Based on qualitative and quantitative data analysis, the majority of participants weren’t sufficiently active, citing motivation and time as their biggest perceived barriers. Statistically significant relationships were identified between BMI and barrier numbers, PA levels, PA enjoyment, and PA importance; as well as between PA levels and barrier numbers, PA enjoyment, and PA importance. An effective PA intervention should emphasize 300 minutes of PA a week, while incorporating evidence-based behavioral strategies (i.e., goal setting, self-monitoring, contingency management, social support, stimulus control, and cognitive restructuring) that have been proven to decrease barriers and increase PA adherence among overweight and obese individuals.
Lee F. Monaghan
This article explores men’s talk about physical activity, weight, health and slimming. Drawing from qualitative data from men whom medicine might label overweight or obese, it outlines various ideal typical ways of orienting to the idea that physical activity promotes “healthy” weight loss before exploring the most critical display of perspective: justifiable resistance and defiance. This gendered mode of accountability comprises numerous themes. These range from the inefficiency of physical activity in promoting weight loss to resisting imposed discipline. Theoretically and politically, these data are read as a situationally fitting and meaningful response to “symbolic violence” in a field of “masculine domination” (Bourdieu 2001)—that is, a society in which fatness is routinely discredited as feminine and feminizing filth by institutions that are publicly reinforcing and amplifying fatphobic norms or sizism.
Shaun E. Edmonds and Susan G. Zieff
In recent years, individuals who do not conform to healthist body shape and weight norms are the target of an increasingly fervent moral panic about “obesity” (Gard & Wright, 2005). As a subculture within the gay male community (Wright, 1997a), the “Bear” community offers a site for examining biopolitical resistance to the pervasive body ideals (and associated fat stigma) embedded within, and perpetuated by, mainstream gay values. Utilizing in-depth interviews and participant observation, this study explores the ways in which Bears negotiate physical activity and body image within the ostensibly fat-positive Bear community. In analyzing the stories and spaces of the Bear community, I find diverse experiences that reveal a complex relationship between sexuality, body image, and engagement in physical activity.
Dale A. Ulrich and Janet L. Hauck
The purpose of this article is to discuss the growing problem of very early onset of obesity occurring before two years of age and to review infant motor development, physical activity, and effective pediatric disability motor interventions that may offer potential strategies to help reduce this growing problem earlier in life. Based on the review of physical activity interventions used with infants with a disability, we will propose strategies to consider to program early physical activity exposures into nondisabled young infants who are at risk for obesity. These proposed physical activity strategies will need to be combined with successful public health approaches to reducing early onset of obesity during infancy. Lucas (1991) conceived the term programming referring to permanent or extended effects of an environmental exposure occurring during a sensitive developmental period. In this paper, we propose that a very sensitive period for early onset of obesity is the first six months of postnatal life. If innovative strategies to increase the frequency of daily exposures to physical activity in young infants can be identified, these strategies could be combined with current public health approaches to preventing obesity in women before, during, and following pregnancy. Given the complexity of the obesity problem, no single strategy for prevention should be expected to be very successful.
Mindy Millard-Stafford, Jeffrey S. Becasen, Michael W. Beets, Allison J. Nihiser, Sarah M. Lee and Janet E. Fulton
A systematic review of literature was conducted to examine the association between changes in health-related fitness (e.g., aerobic capacity and muscular strength/endurance) and chronic disease risk factors in overweight and/or obese youth. Studies published from 2000–2010 were included if the physical activity intervention was a randomized controlled trial and reported changes in fitness and health outcomes by direction and significance (p < .05) of the effect. Aerobic capacity improved in 91% and muscular fitness improved in 82% of measures reported. Nearly all studies (32 of 33) reported improvement in at least one fitness test. Changes in outcomes related to adiposity, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, metabolic, and mental/emotional health improved in 60%, 32%, 53%, 41%, and 33% of comparisons studied, respectively. In conclusion, overweight and obese youth can improve physical fitness across a variety of test measures. When fitness improves, beneficial health effects are observed in some, but not all chronic disease risk factors.
Fiona J. Moola, Moss E. Norman, LeAnne Petherick and Shaelyn Strachan
While interdisciplinary knowledge is critical to moving beyond categorical ways of knowing, this comes with its own set of pedagogical challenges. We contend that acknowledging existing knowledge hierarchies and epistemological differences, recognizing the ideological baggage that students’ bring to the classroom in terms of their understandings of health, embracing intellectual uncertainty, and encouraging learning-as-witnessing, are fundamental to fostering an interdisciplinary pedagogy that opens up a space for dialogue between psychology and sociology. We draw on the case of obesity and physical inactivity in the Canadian context as an exemplar of a kinesiology dilemma in which both psychology and sociology have important, albeit different, roles to play. We suggest that the anxiety provoked by such an approach is not only necessary but productive to forge an intellectual space where psychologists and sociologists may better hear one another.