The 6 scientific reasons weight ≠ health
1. The shape and size of our bodies is not a good indicator of overall health.
We all have that mate, who are #blesssed (according to our diet obsessed culture) with a smaller body but don’t actually treat their body like a temple at all! Maybe even the opposite? And that’s because the shape and size of our bodies is not a solid indicator of health. It is scientifically possible to experience health and ill health, in ANY body size. We, as health professionals, would never, ever, look at a person’s body size and assume the state of their health by how they look. This is because the shape and size of our body is influenced by so many other factors that could have nothing to do with how healthy you are, like the size of your bones, your genetic make up, hormones, race and the list goes on.
2. You’re more likely to die from not eating enough fruit and veg and not moving your body enough than being ‘overweight’.
For those of us who like stats, there is a bunch of really robust studies that show how our health behaviours such as fruit and veg intake, exercise, smoking and alcohol intake has more of an impact on our mortality rate (death) than our weight! That is, someone who has a low weight but eats no fruit or veg, rarely exercises, drinks and smokes on the reg is at a higher risk of death than someone who has a higher weight and partakes in eating all their serves of fruit and veg daily, exercises often and doesn’t smoke or drink! We’ll keep talking health behaviours in a few days time.
3. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is technically being incorrectly applied to people.
The BMI figures were created by a mathematician over 100 years ago (not someone with a background in health). AND it was intended to be used to assess population health not for individuals. Yet here we are, almost 100 years on and still using it on individuals.
4. Turns out it’s really f’ing hard to lose weight, not to mention keeping the weight off!
Prescribing weight loss as a goal to improve health doesn’t work in the long run. Strong science shows that 95% of people who successfully lose weight will re-gain it after 5 years. This shocked us too!
5. There can be negative health consequences when trying to lose weight.
Focusing on weight loss to try and improve your health can actually have some pretty negative mental health consequences. We now know that living in our diet-obsessed culture with the constant pressure to lose weight, can cause feelings of low self-worth, poor body image and a negative relationship with food. All things that are ironically, not healthy for you.
6. We don’t actually have control over our weight!
Look if you’re still not convinced that your weight doesn’t define your health (it’s hard to unravel years of being told it does, we get it) here’s the kicker- you as a human being cannot control your weight (unless you physically cut your arm off which will certainly make you lighter but not necessarily healthier, side note: we DO NOT recommend this). You only have control over your behaviour, your actions, the things you do day-to-day, which includes the healthy behaviours as mentioned above!