This blog post originally appeared last December. Unfortunately, nothing has changed over the past year.
I cannot claim full credit for this posting. It was prompted by an observation by one of my lovely colleagues.
There’s been a fair bit of coverage in the media lately of the growing body of research showing that it’s far healthier to be fit and overweight than it is to be physically inactive and slim. Conveniently, the Canadian Obesity Network has launched an image gallery. The media often shows images of overweight people without their heads. Regardless of the written content, these headless photos only serve to further stigmatize overweight. The images provided on the CON website are intended to show larger people in a positive light. There is also a similar American image gallery through the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy. It appears that Yale has expanded their image gallery since it first began. Hopefully the CON will do the same. It’s great that these people have heads and all but do they really have to look like they were participating in a Sears family portrait? If we really want to portray people of all sizes as positive role models then we should be showing overweight individuals engaged in positive activities. Don’t just show them striking a pose against a tree. Show them playing sports, preparing healthy food, running, dancing, swimming, reading, working… There are limitless possibilities.