For years the American markets have had a dangerous obsession with obesity, and the stipulations surrounding the social and political attitudes toward those who fall under this category. Those who are obese are stigmatized, and may not have control over their weight. This is one reason researchers are trying to find proof that obesity is, in fact, a disease or not. They found obesity to be classified better as a pre disease, or sign of another issue deeper than flesh. They classify being overweight as a precursor to other more life threatening problems, especially when it comes to cardiac health. Researchers have also found another problem that may pose more of a threat to today’s society, and that is being too much of a health nut.
Orthorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is attributed to people who eat too many healthy foods, and just leave out food groups that are important to the functions of the human body. The disorder begins as healthy behavior, making it very hard to diagnose. The literal translation of orthorexia nervosa is, “fixation on righteous eating.” This fixation can get so intense that it influences all other aspects of that person’s life. This may end these people’s friendships, and make them more likely to marginalize people for the food they eat, or the meat on their bones.
Some of these people fall into orthorexia because of their dangerous obsession with obesity, and are often trying to leave behind a way of eating that has made them feel inadequate, or loathe themselves. The only reason that these people have unhealthy, healthy eating styles is because of how they go about making this new diet for themselves. Just like other eating disorders, food takes over the individuals life. They want full control over every ingredient that goes into their bodies.
This obsession with eating right becomes self-deprecating. If a orthorexic makes a mistake in their diet, they often punish themselves with stricter dieting, or even fasting. These self punishing behaviors are how most health professionals can diagnose the disorder. The first sign is usually found in the individuals social life. Friends may notice that the person is very picky at restaurants and will not eat the food brought if it is not correct. Orthorexics are also very unlikely to visit a friend for a meal that will not let them choose what will be cooked.
One recent study defines a obesity paradox that has come into view. They have found that people who have more weight on their bones actually are more healthy, and proceed more smoothly through surgeries than thin people. In fact, people with lower body mass index are far more likely to get sick in the first place. Fear of fat, and obsession with obesity can really hurt a person’s health. It is time that American’s rethink how they address their diets. It may actually be more beneficial to eat that steak, or birthday cake in the long run– not just eat the cake, but enjoy it guilt free as well. Health professionals urge American’s that the problem does not lie in the weight of a person, but the physical exercise that the individual partakes in. Exercise is the difference between a health person and an unhealthy one, not the weight they carry with them. Attitudes need to be switched from the dangerous obsession with obesity, to a healthy preoccupation with exercise, balanced meals, and living life.
By Joshua Shane
The Sydney Morning Herald