One of the unfortunate changes that accompany aging is an increase in body fat.
Increased body fat is the single greatest reason why so many women chose to diet.
Abdominal fat increases the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Aerobic exercise promotes the loss of abdominal fat more readily in women compared to men.
Women tend to deposit fat more easily in the femoral region, including the thighs and hips.
These particular areas are resistant to removal since, in this area, lipolysis is severely limited.
Lipolysis is the breaking down of fat stores and is dependent on the presence of hormones and the fat cell receptors they bind to.
Exercise promotes fat loss.
When athletes exercise they increase their energy needs and must meet those demands.
This requires an improvement in the athlete’s cell machinery in order to increase the metabolic rate of the athlete.
This increase in metabolic rate is what produces the growth in muscles.
Muscle grows when there is an increase in production of lean muscle tissue.
More muscle and less fat increases an athlete’s metabolic rate.
Muscle is a more active metabolic tissue than fat.
Adipose tissue is a metabolically active organ, which, depending on its location, can be stimulated or blocked.
Lipolysis is stimulated by catecholamines, alpha-blockers and beta-agonists.
America is in the midst of an obesity epidemic with almost 40 percent of adults considered obese.
Obesity among African and Spanish American females is even more startling as it hoovers at fifty percent.
In addition to the social stigma to being obese, there are significant health risks associated with it.
The term obese is derived from a Greek expression that indicated overeating.
Over the millennia obesity became considered as a matter of gluttony.
Obesity is a combination nutritional and genetic disease.
Obesity is linked to the three leading causes of death in the United States (heart disease, cancer and stroke).
Obesity is an enormous excess of body fat.
Overweight on the other hand, refers to an excess of body weight relative to height.
Obesity is implicated in atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension and osteoarthritis of weight-bearing joints.
Athletes can be overweight due to an increase in muscle mass or too much fat. One is a healthy increase the other is not.
A confluence of interests including the food and entertainment industries have created a sick, sedentary society that thrives on unhealthy foods and inactivity.
Obese women are at a huge disadvantage in life.
Even those who are succesfull at losing weight have great difficulty in keeping it off.
In many cases, even a normal caloric diet puts the weight back on.
Fitness for future generations of girls requires them to focus on excellence in health and fitness, not in loosing weight.
This concept must be instilled early in life to avoid the catastrophic consequences that occurs later in life.
The majority of these ills are the result of sedentary behavior and poor nutrition.
Prevention of these problems requires a stronger commitment from educational institutions and require students to engage in more physical activities and less academic responsibilities.
This may not make them as competitive on job applications but it would send a strong signal to children that their health is a priority.
That commitment is now lacking.
Girls, early on, develop a sense of self-esteem that they will need to carry them throughout life.
They understand early on that appearance will be a main contributor to their future success.
Girls are especially under strong pressure to remain thin, leading many to become 'anos and bulls' during adolescence.
This is in contrast to boys, who can be stocky and still be perceived as being strong, fit and healthy.
A majority of American girls regard themselves as fat.
Concern over fat produces a negative body image.
Their preoccupation with appearance is misdirecting girl’s energy into being thin rather that being fit and healthy.
In addition, as crazy as it sounds, motherhood has becomes a time to dread due to the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy.
These normal adaptations to pregnancy are simply an increase in weight and fat to support a fetus’s development.
This is not a sign of being fat.
The increases in body weight that occur from exercise, pregnancy and aging are normal developments and should not be perceived as unattractive and a sign of poor health.
Tiring, after climbing thee flights of stair is!
Early in 2005, Lever Faberge (Unilever) initiated a campaign in Britain, for Dove, its new firming moisturizer.. The Dove Real Beauty Campaign sought to set its product apart from its competitors by illustrating the beauty of everyday, read overweight, women. After its success in England, that summer women with curves became featured on TV and billboards across America.
The women were shown celebrating their beauty and their curves by posing in underwear. The shots were meant to convey a natural beauty to their bodies. The women were not pencil thin as model typically are but were instead overweight. This campaign help[ed sell their product by rejecting the use of creating unrealistic expectations..The ads stressed that all the photos were un-retouched.
Normally, gender based advertising uses aspirational techniques to attract potential buyers to its product by manipulating the subconscious. Unilever’s research concluded that overweight women feel intimidated and depressed when they are subject to skinny images and thus provided more ‘realistic’ models to aspire to.
Of course their only difference was in strategy. Dove motivated viewers to buy its product by offering realistic expectations. It never addressed the question of whether the product was needed in the first place. Both types of advertising reinforce the inferiority of women by promoting the concept that women need these products to look good and feel young.
The Dove promotion set off debate on a number of blogs and discussion regarding health, beauty and advertising. Unilever was able to capitalize on the originality of their ads to gain media attention. They then paraded their ‘real models’ on TV talk shows to display the normalness of these women and the originality of their campaign. The kudos they received for using real women with curves helped even more gain attention and ultimately helped Unilever sell more of its product
The Real World
During the past quarter century the average body weight of young females has increased. Some of this weight is attributable to better nutrition and an increase in muscle mass that occurs as a result of exercise. During this same period, the ideal virtual standard, which young females unrealistically aspire to, has gone down. These unrealistic expectations contribute to the high incidence in eating disorders and under-nutrition seen in early middle school girls (11-14 years) and young adult women. Furthermore, young adolescent females view the normal increase in adipose, not as part of their sexual maturation but rather as a sign of fatness.
Many menstrual disorders are attributed to the low body fat levels these girls achieve through the low calorie diets that they follow. Low body fat levels also occur following an intense exercise regime and require special nutritional attention by females to avoid menstrual disorders.
The power of advertising to convince people of what they need or what to dream, has made fortunes for America’s businesses.
Anos and Buls
Girls with eating disorders have a major health problem. What originated in puberty as a simple desire to be slim and attractive has grown into an obsession with staying pencil thin. These girls develop full blown eating disorders as they grow into young adulthood and enter college. They are referred to as anos (anorexia nervosa) or buls (bulimia nervosa) depending on the method they use to not gain weight. These girls are the unhealthy result of manipuative marketing techniques and subliminal advertising campaigns of American buisnesses. It is parents and educators who bear the responsibility to promote fitness instead of thinness.
Female Obesity Issues
There are two types of fat distribution among obese people. They are characterized according to the shape of the person. They are termed apple and pear shaped obesity patterns. Apple shaped obesity results from significant adipose accumulation around the trunk or abdomen. Pear shaped obesity results from fat accumulation around the hips and thigh. Apple shaped obesity predisposes these individuals more to nutritional diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or NIDDM), gout and hypertension.
Females have a higher predilection to accumulate lower body fat in a pear shaped pattern. Lower body adipose is a type of fat that is more resistant to breakdown (lipolysis) and therefore maintains storage longer. The upper body fat that males are predisposed to carry (apple shaped pattern), favors lipolysis. Lipolysis rapidly provides energy during endurance activity. Abdominal fat in women is easier for them to lose than it is for a man. That is because that type of fat, in females, favor lipolysis. Unfortunately women tend to accumulate lower body fat, which is more difficult to lose since it favors storage.The difference in fat accumulation, distribution and resistance to lipolysis accounts for the slightly higher incidence of obesity among females but less clinical complications. The fear of being thought of as fat, overweight, or obese has driven women, mostly young, into following fad diets and displaying neurotic behavior.