Obesity is not unhappiness

By on December 5, 2012

A new scientific study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health shows that the obesity a gene protects against depression. Having the gene for obesity reduces the chance of depression by 8%, which is not huge, but still surprising. This finding comes as a shocking revelation to many Americans, especially women, who have started associating a good figure with happiness. It is also a controversial and somewhat paradoxical finding since as a society we have a tendency to believe that obese people are unhappy with their figure. There is a relationship between depression and obesity but whether one causes the other has not been proven. This study, however provides, some insight into the link between the two.

Sheneman Tribune Media services

Hollywood actresses and models have set the “Size Zero trend” for women. At an early age, many girls learn to think that they are fat, when, in fact, they are not. They just aren’t super skinny. They believe beauty is associated with being thin, and their route to satisfaction is achieving a small figure. According to a study by Duke, 50 to 60 percent of teenage American girls believe that they are overweight, while in reality only 15 to 20 percent of them actually are. All of this seems ironic since America has one the highest obesity rates in the world, 35.7 percent of all American adults are obese.

As a society, we tend to blame people for being fat. However, what we fail to realize is that several people are already predisposed to obesity because of their genes. Making healthier choices is especially important for these people. Because fast food is easily available and cheap, many people have come to rely on it although it has negative impacts on their health. As a society, we should raise awareness about obesity instead of judging people for their appearance, especially since we do not know the reasonbehind it.

Perhaps a positive effect of this study, which shows that obese people are less likely to suffer from depression, may change society’s views on obesity. Not only will this study raise awareness that obesity is not only a result of personal decisions, but it will also show that the gene for obesity can have a plus side. Maybe normal sized people will realize that those with a size zero figure are not necessarily the happiest and that being fat does not mean a person is unhappy. Just because society promotes a certain mind-set does not mean that all of us must confine with this way of thinking.

Natasha Mehra
Staff Writer
nmehra@uab.edu

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