The difference between alternative and commonplace is just that: the former is something not commonly seen – something that stands out. But something commonplace is that kind of invisible standard; something we’re so used to that we don’t even think about it or take note of its consequences.
With two third of adults overweight in this country, along with one third of our children, being fat is now commonplace. In fact, more adults are fat than are slim. Extra poundage on our bodies has become the norm, as being slim has become something more rare – alternative, if you will.
Columbia University recently revealed a study that showed parents and children who are obese did not consider themselves so, nor each other. Over 200 (mostly Latin) women and their children were involved in the study. About two thirds of the mothers were overweight or obese along with a worrisome 40 percent of their children.
Eighty-two percent of the mothers guessed their weights as being lower than they actually were. Eighty-six percent of their overweight children did the same. This shows a huge gap between normal weight women who did not successfully estimate their weight (15 percent) and normal weight children (13 percent).
One of the principals in the study, Nicole E. Dumas, M.D., from Columbia University Medical Center, believes the reason for these incorrect weight perceptions is because being overweight has become the standard. With so many overweight or obese people, it has become the rule, rather than the exception.
Dumas said that there "…was a trend that showed that as women became more and more overweight, and then obese, the larger the misperception of true body weight was. Unfortunately, we found this was the case with the children as well."
Interestingly, in a world where skinny rules, most of the children who were shown many body types and asked to identify a healthy body size for their moms chose body shapes that were heavy.