Plus-Sized Athletes (with heads)

There’s a story making the rounds on “plus-sized athletes” reacting to the US “Let’s Move” campaign.

The fitness community has embraced the first lady’s ‘Let’s Move’ program, but many health experts balk at equating improving health with lowering weight.

Fat aerobics instructor Sandy Shaffer and physical trainer GeMar Neloms are interviewed.  Dr Kenneth Cooper, a longtime supporter of measuring fitness independent of body weight, comments.  All suggest that body size is a poor measure of health. One bit of wording I found curious was “a robust body need not mean poor health”. Robust is an adjective meaning:

  1. (of a person, animal, or plant) Strong and healthy; vigorous.
  2. (of an object) Sturdy in construction.

What does it say that “strong and healthy; vigorous” or even “sturdy” is assumed to mean poor health?

The Age in Australia went a step further and paired the story with a photo of plus-size women (with heads) doing aerobics.

Fat women doing aerobics
Image from The Age

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12 responses to “Plus-Sized Athletes (with heads)”

  1. Jaime M Avatar
    Jaime M

    thank you again!.

  2. Jaime M Avatar
    Jaime M

    ps. I have GOT to learn to stop reading the comments on these articles! =)

    1. Frances Avatar

      I KNOW, I made the same mistake. It’s astonishing how dismissive people can be. What do we have to do to make them believe our experiences?

  3. shaunta Avatar

    The comments on that article are nasty. I was just thinking what Jaime M. said. Yowza.

  4. Issa Avatar

    Thanks for pointing out that story. Oh, the comments! I knew I had turned an FA corner when the comments on articles like that stopped being upsetting and started being hilariously predictable. I love all the weaseling around the idea of fat in the article, too. Theoretically obese and overweight are clearly defined medical terms and an article shouldn’t have any trouble using them with a straight face (so to speak). Instead, we get “plus-size”, “should be considered overweight”, “robust”, “heavyset”, “fleshier”, “full-figured”, and “overweight” itself written in quotes. Somebody had their can’t-say-fat thesaurus out!

  5. Bree Avatar
    Bree

    Sandy Shaffer works out, eats a balanced diet and teaches aerobics yet she’s 320 lbs.

    Clearly, CLEARLY, that should send a signal to fatphobes that diet and exercise does not always make a person thinner! Why can’t they wrap their narrow-minded minds around this concept?

    Anyhoo, it’s good to see more people speaking out about the problematic elements of Let’s Move.

  6. G Avatar

    My body is SO robust! *flex*

    What a double bind. Whether you’re fat and active or fat and inactive, people are going to judge you. We can’t win.

  7. Ashley Pariseau Avatar

    I think weight is an indicator of health, but definitely not the only one. I think the compaign would be more on the right track if it focused on all aspects of health.

  8. NewMe Avatar

    I still get incredibly angry and upset by comments such as those that followed the article you cited. I just can’t close my eyes to the hate and ignorance. Wish I could.

  9. Giussi Avatar
    Giussi

    Re: Accompanying Pic – On the left, with blond hair and red lips, is Marina who founded BigMoves, the size inclusive dance troupe, bigmoves.org She’s a goddess if ever there were one!

  10. chicineverycity Avatar

    I’m plus size and I’m a Zumba Fitness Instructor, so I completely understand the “you’re fat so you can’t be fit” stigma.

    GO AGE in AUSTRALIA and SANDY SHAFFER! it’s about time people realized that fat people are not atrophied couch potatoes!

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