Stigma against plus-sized bodies

 Due to the ever-growing toxicity of diet culture and fat phobia, plus-size bodies have been targeted by diet culture and societal stigma as examples of “anti-health.” Those of bigger physiques are blatantly accused of modeling bad health habits and are rudely criticized by the media and cynics to “get into shape.”

Many times, what these people don’t realize is that having a larger body does not automatically equivocate to not taking care of one’s fitness. Our society spreads the harmful mentality that the only goal of working out and eating healthy is to achieve an emaciated and small physique.

Recently, nutritionists and popular body activists have created movements such as The Health At Every Size movement in order to bring down this awful misconception and stigma against bigger people.

  “[The movement] promotes acceptance and appreciation of one’s body, even if you’re overweight,” nutritionist Monica Reinagel said on the Scientific American. “It encourages overweight people to shift their focus from losing weight to other healthy habits, such as eating healthy foods and getting more exercise.”

In the article Reingal continues to explain how weight should not be the sole determining factor when it comes to judging one’s physical wellness. Many other indicators, such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol play significant roles in determining someone’s health status as well.

“A very muscular person may have a BMI that’s considered overweight or obese, when they are no such thing,” Reinagel said. “On the flip side of the coin, someone with a low BMI may still have a high amount of visceral fat—the so-called “skinny-fat” phenomenon—which increases disease risk.”

The true problem that surfaces due to this dangerous thinking is that it promotes negativity and shame towards people who have more body fat. According to, two-thirds of 13-year-old girls fear gaining weight and turn to unhealthy weight-control methods such as purging, fasting or taking dietary pills in order to lose weight.

The message that needs to be promoted is that there is nothing wrong with being bigger.  It’s possible to be larger and healthy, the same way that it is possible for someone to be skinny and unhealthy. While many health conditions have been linked to obesity, a number of studies have shown that those issues are solved simply by just focusing on good habits such as eating whole foods and remembering to move your body daily, not just trying to slim down. Good health is an outcome of our behaviors, regardless of your size. 

As the Health At Every Size movement promotes: personal well-being and healthy living are what’s foremost in life, not weight control. Normalizing the acceptance of all types of physiques in health is the first step in tearing down these biased and discriminatory walls. It’s time we start to spread the right message: health comes in all shapes and sizes.