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The obese eat more than the non-obese.
In 19 out of the 20 studies conducted before 1979, obese people were shown to eat the same or less than the non-obese, disproving the view that obese people are heavy because they eat more.
The obese are more emotionally disturbed than the non-obese.
Several studies have shown obese people have no more or fewer emotional problems than the non-obese. Personality and level of adjustment also appear to be similar for both groups, despite the fact that the obese must deal with tremendous social pressure against them.
Moderate obesity is associated with increased sickness and death.
Some studies have extrapolated the health risks associated with extreme obesity affecting those who are moderately obese as well. But the Framingham study showed that "over" weight women had a lower mortality risk than "under" weight women. The highest mortality (death) rate for women was for those who were "under" weight. The lowest mortality rates were for women 10 per cent and 20 per cent over average weight. While it may be true that increased blood pressure and deaths due to heart disease may be associated with being "over" weight, there is some speculation that it may be the yo-yo effect of dieting and then regaining the weight that accounts for the increase in blood pressure.
Long term treatment through dieting is successful.
Several long term follow up studies have shown that the success rate of diets, over time, is dismal at best. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 95 per cent of diets simply do not work over the long term. Dr. Susan Wooley believes the diagnosis of obesity should be eliminated. She believes that you can't treat something you can't diagnose and that obese individuals should instead be helped to improve their sense of self-esteem.
In any given class, there are probably heavier children who are discriminated against because of body size. In light of this, the challenge for educators is to present information on overweight in a highly sensitive and supportive manner.
Adapted with permission from Teacher's Resource Kit: A Teacher's Lesson Plan Kit for the Prevention of Eating Disorders. National Eating Disorder Information Centre, © 1989.
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