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Should you ever tell someone they are overweight?

Opening Argument

Weight-loss coach Steve Miller believes we should use the word 'fat' more often…

When he was in his 30s, a friend told him he was overweight. While it was a 'horrible shock', he said 'it was also the kindest thing she could have said’.


So, should we tell someone that they are overweight? 

It is our duty to tell someone close to us that they are overweight so we can give they a more lengthy life, of course, only if they are an unhealthy weight. I think if you notice someone close to you is too thin or may be struggling with an eating disorder you should also speak to them about it.


Obesity costs the NHS an average of £4.2 billion per annum, on average. NHS figures also show that 58 percent of women in the UK are overweight or obese, which is much more than the amount of severely underweight women in the UK. 


Government statistics tell us only three things are more likely to kill you than obesity: smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol. And being fat contributes to the last two. It is also linked to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.


Steve Miller:


“I speak from a position of first-hand experience, having been a fatty in denial myself. Twelve years ago, when I was in my 30s, I piled on four stone.”


His friend, who he had not seen in a while, told him he was overweight, and he had to do something about it. He changed his diet and started exercising more, managing to quickly achieve a more healthy stature.


“I recall the first time I told a woman she was fat. The business high-flyer in her 40s told me her size 20 figure was stopping her from finding love.

I told her what no friend had ever dared: that she was right.

Then she thanked me for being the first person to ever tell her she was fat. A year on, she was a size 12 and in a relationship.”


NHS Facts:

19.1% of children in Year 6 (aged 10-11) are obese and a further 14.2% are overweight

£25,000 is being spent by the NHS on diabetes every minute


volvo_mayweatherthe_worldtherep
  1. Should you ever tell someone they are overweight?

    7 votes
    1. Yes
      71.43%
    2. No
      28.57%

Status: Open Debate

Arguments

  • the_worldthe_world 32 Pts
    No, not a good move. The person is probably self conscious and knows about the issue in many to all cases. That would only be adding to that persons issue in cases.
    therep
  • thereptherep 51 Pts
    Horrible move, can get you in trouble and cost a relationship with the victim of the comment you said.
  • You need to be really careful to tell someone they are overweight.  That is a really risky move that can backfire.  Chances are the person already knows they are overweight and you telling them will not result in a positive action other than resentment towards you
  • VaulkVaulk 236 Pts
    This is an interesting topic of debate.  On one hand, telling someone that they're Fat or Overweight is considered rude and is seen as being mean or hateful.  On the other hand, remaining silent about someone being fat can create an atmosphere of acceptance for something that is unhealthy and there are 2nd and 3rd order effects for that. 

    We can all agree that there are people out there with health disorders that account for their weight, unfortunately this is the exception to the case and never the majority.  Genes play a role in our body weight but the role is a tiny fraction of the overall contributing factors to someone being overweight.  The simple fact is that the vast majority of people who claim "I can't control it" are lying to themselves and whoever they're telling that to.  An inability to control what you eat and how much is the equivalent to an inability to study sufficiently to be prepared for a test...both are a pure result of poor choices and lack of willpower.  All of this is said with the understanding that there are few that truly do have a medical condition that prevents them from controlling their weight.

    Comparative example: Recently we've made it a crime to smoke in public places, so smokers are restricted to certain areas for their habit and most likely rightfully so.  Smoking is an extremely unhealthy choice and in this context it's simply unhealthy to the person committing the act.  In our Society...we shame smokers, we use them in video advertisements...showcasing their pain and suffering as a means to convince others not to smoke.  We use graphic and vivid images of smoking related diseases to further promote the idea that Smokers are people who make very VERY poor decisions and no one should aspire to be like them.  Mind you, this social atmosphere of Smoker shaming is NOT focused on what smoking can do to other non-smokers...but instead on what smoking does to the person who is smoking.

    Now take into account Over-eating, poor diet, junk-food lifestyles, obesity...have you ever seen Fat people restricted to their poor eating habits in certain areas?  Have you ever seen a video advertisement showcasing the horrible diseases and conditions that are a result of obesity?  Do we use graphic images of obese people, highlighting heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, gout, cancer, breathing conditions?  No...we don't.  Why not though?  If I had to take a wild stab at the answer...I'd say that it's because people would be in an uproar over their feelings being hurt at seeing videos or images like that because they're just offensive. 

    Welcome to the social construct of "Reverse Shame".  In situations where people SHOULD come together and cast something down as being wrong, unhealthy or destructive in nature...instead we remain silent...for fear of being shamed for not respecting other people's feelings.  Obesity isn't the only area where this happens.  And if you don't read either of the three articles concerning the issues of obesity, take some time to read the first from phillymag regarding using shame properly.

    http://www.phillymag.com/news/2012/10/12/solve-americas-obesity-problem-shame/

    http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/12/03/study-theres-no-such-thing-as-healthy-obesity/
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/01/06/is-healthy-obesity-a-real-thing-not-likely-study-says/#55eddbdd765e
    https://www.dietdoctor.com/the-real-cause-of-obesity





    fntsyguyagsrale5islander507melanielust
  • Vaulk said:
    This is an interesting topic of debate.  On one hand, telling someone that they're Fat or Overweight is considered rude and is seen as being mean or hateful.  On the other hand, remaining silent about someone being fat can create an atmosphere of acceptance for something that is unhealthy and there are 2nd and 3rd order effects for that. 

    We can all agree that there are people out there with health disorders that account for their weight, unfortunately this is the exception to the case and never the majority.  Genes play a role in our body weight but the role is a tiny fraction of the overall contributing factors to someone being overweight.  The simple fact is that the vast majority of people who claim "I can't control it" are lying to themselves and whoever they're telling that to.  An inability to control what you eat and how much is the equivalent to an inability to study sufficiently to be prepared for a test...both are a pure result of poor choices and lack of willpower.  All of this is said with the understanding that there are few that truly do have a medical condition that prevents them from controlling their weight.

    Comparative example: Recently we've made it a crime to smoke in public places, so smokers are restricted to certain areas for their habit and most likely rightfully so.  Smoking is an extremely unhealthy choice and in this context it's simply unhealthy to the person committing the act.  In our Society...we shame smokers, we use them in video advertisements...showcasing their pain and suffering as a means to convince others not to smoke.  We use graphic and vivid images of smoking related diseases to further promote the idea that Smokers are people who make very VERY poor decisions and no one should aspire to be like them.  Mind you, this social atmosphere of Smoker shaming is NOT focused on what smoking can do to other non-smokers...but instead on what smoking does to the person who is smoking.

    Now take into account Over-eating, poor diet, junk-food lifestyles, obesity...have you ever seen Fat people restricted to their poor eating habits in certain areas?  Have you ever seen a video advertisement showcasing the horrible diseases and conditions that are a result of obesity?  Do we use graphic images of obese people, highlighting heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, gout, cancer, breathing conditions?  No...we don't.  Why not though?  If I had to take a wild stab at the answer...I'd say that it's because people would be in an uproar over their feelings being hurt at seeing videos or images like that because they're just offensive. 

    Welcome to the social construct of "Reverse Shame".  In situations where people SHOULD come together and cast something down as being wrong, unhealthy or destructive in nature...instead we remain silent...for fear of being shamed for not respecting other people's feelings.  Obesity isn't the only area where this happens.  And if you don't read either of the three articles concerning the issues of obesity, take some time to read the first from phillymag regarding using shame properly.

    http://www.phillymag.com/news/2012/10/12/solve-americas-obesity-problem-shame/

    http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/12/03/study-theres-no-such-thing-as-healthy-obesity/
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/01/06/is-healthy-obesity-a-real-thing-not-likely-study-says/#55eddbdd765e
    https://www.dietdoctor.com/the-real-cause-of-obesity





    Thank you so much fir this insightful reply. I completely agree with the comments you made and I love the comparative example, so I am wondering if I can use it in a presentation I have to deliver on this subject, you have helped me so much just by making this reply. Honestly thank you so much!
  • agsragsr 538 PtsPremium MemberTechnology Community Moderator
    Premium MemberTechnology Community Moderator
    @Vaulk, you did it again! Great argument with excellent research.  I agree now.
    fntsyguy
    Live Long and Prosper
  • A person is as heavy as they are.
    It is impossible to be more or less than a specific weight at one specific moment in time.
    Therefore it is impossible to be either over or under weight.
    ale5fntsyguy
  • It really depends. If they are obese, then they probably know already, and telling them as such would be sort of rubbing it in. If they are not aware of common health and fitness standards and they are overweight enough to be unhealthy, then someone close to them should let them know.

    However, it is never appropriate to make fun of them or call them fat.
  • @melanielust, I agree in general.  Although I think that we need to push a new society norm that it is not okay to be overweight and especially obese. @Vaulk made an amazing response.
    melanielustfntsyguy
  • Just to reiterate.
    It is impossible to be overweight.
    It is only possible to be one specific weight at one specific time.

    What you are referring to is a conceptually generated, arrogant reaction of someone who considers themselves to be more worthy,
    simply because they weigh less than somebody else.

    Just for the record.
    I am 178cm in height and weigh 68kg approx.
  • @Fredsnephew, you are a tall skinny dude. I had to convert your dimensions to lbs and ft with help of google :)
    there are generally accepted metrics of BMI that are debatable, but there ate many people who are clear beyond any boundaries of being overweight and needing to lose weight.
    it's not a question of arrogance, but impact to health. 
  • Ok.
    Once again the main point of my argument is ignored. The reason being it is an unarguable point.
    Trite it may be, but nonetheless it completely refutes the opening proposition.

    So let's be honest then.
    What is actually being referred to here is lazy people who eat and drink far more than is necessary.

    Certainly there are a small minority of people with underlying physiological and mental health problems, who in a caring society definitely
    deserve the assistance of others.

    But the vast majority of people who are far to heavy, are simply lazy and eat far more than is necessary.
    I would suggest that, this a lifestyle choice and not a matter for social concern or intervention.

    People are clearly aware of their increasing weight and change in physical appearance, but choose to do nothing about it.
    This is just an extension of their laziness.

    Should we tell someone that they weigh more than is healthy?

    If it's someone we care about, then yes.

    If it's someone we don't care about, then no.

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