Considering the strong societal pressure to maintain a slim figure and the prejudice and stigmatization connected to women who do not have such figures, women of large size often experience difficulty achieving a healthy lifestyle.
The stereotypes and myths of obesity so often repeated in American culture are misleading and often simply wrong. Why are these beliefs held so strongly, and what can be done to change the prevailing attitudes? One of the reasons that fatness is still a stigmatized feature in our culture is that many believe it is a condition that can and should be controlled voluntarily, unlike skin color or eye color.
These negative attitudes can turn into discrimination through limits of employment and education, and they can create a difficult barrier for large women struggling to maintain a healthy body image.
It seems to be a trend among physicians and other health care providers to assume that all larger-sized people need to lose weight in order to improve their health. It has been scientifically shown that a reduction in weight as little as 10 pounds can lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol level, and increase lung function.
However, the harmful effects of yo-yo dieting and the emotional stress of trying to stick to one or more diets may cause more harm than good. In many cases, women can be healthy by maintaining their current weight. Women who are obese and stay obese without frequent weight losses and regains have better health outcomes than those women who are obese and lose and regain weight on a regular basis.
The best advice for maintaining good health is to consume a well-balanced diet and to engage in moderate exercise at least three times a week.