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ChAoTicintheNewYear Report 12 Jan 2013 12:57

"In the UK an estimated 60.8 per cent of adults and 31.1 per cent of children are overweight. According to figures from 2009, almost a quarter of adults (22 per cent of men and 24 per cent of women) in England were classified as obese (BMI 30kg/m² or over)."

The above is the first paragraph in the following link...

Britain as a nation has an obesity problem.

"As many as 30,000 people die prematurely every year from obesity-related conditions." (taken from link above)

I have read and contributed to threads on obesity on other forums. Reading other people's opinions has made me wonder how much our perceptions of weight/size are skewed. Do we normalise being overweight because we see so much of it around us?

I've heard quite a few times of people, usually women, complain about the lack of availability of fashionable clothes over a size 16/18, saying that the average size of women nowadays is 16. Well this may be true but being a size 16 or over will put most, if not all, women into the overweight/obese category with regards to health, which isn't a good thing.

Another thing is that clothes sizes seem to be getting larger. On another forum one woman once posted how she had found a dress belonging to her mother that she (mother) had worn when young. The dress was a size 10, the poster was a size 10 when she tried it on. It didn't fit, wouldn't even go on her, she said it was more like today's size 6. This is a post that has stuck in my mind for some reason so I did some googling today and found the following which suggests that clothes size are indeed larger than their older equivalents.

So are our perceptions of what is normal size wise skewed? How does this affect our health? Do we need to accept that in order to tackle the 'obesity epicemic' we need to start looking at our size in context of health and use bmi as a guidline.

I would like to say here that bmi is a guideline and is not infallible. For example it is possible for a healthy, muscular athlete with very low levels of body fat to be classified obese using this formula. Muscle weighs more than fat.

I'd also like to point out that I'm a size 18 and definitely in the obese category so I'm not criticising anyone. I'm just throwing out a few thoughts/questions for people to discuss. Feel free to bring up anything that I haven't that is related.


Cooper Report 12 Jan 2013 13:09

Hi C,

I have to pop out in a minute but you stuck a cord about clothes sizes. I have a skirt which is a size 14 and a fitted above knee style. I was 9.5 stone at the time and it was bought in the early 1980s. I'm nearly 2 stone heavier now and still a size 14 in most high street stores. However the 1980s skirt well I can't get it up over my thighs :-S Clothes sizes are now much bigger than they were. The same goes for cups, mugs plates etc. the bigger the plate, the more its filled. When I was at school there were very few overweight children. I was one of them but when I look back at photos I was smaller than today's overweight children. My Son is skinny compared to some of his school mates but looks the same size as my husband was in photos at the same age.

I really do think that perception of size has changed. What we do about it I don't know.

I have also done all of the diets under the sun. I think I will book a place on I'm a celebrity, they always loose weight :-D



DazedConfused Report 12 Jan 2013 13:09

Pre- 1980's the average size of most women in the UK was 14-16.

The ideal measurements then were 36-24-36, which in todays way of thinking that sizing would be consider overweight.

As for clothes sizing, there is a 2" difference between each size and more and more manufacturers now cut to the lower end of the 2" sizing, thus forcing more women to wear a larger size than they really need to.

I am obese, and a few weeks ago had to go the the doctor where upon it was noted that he had not seen me for about 8 years. I am healthy, but following a fall have now got problems with my knees.

And the obesity epidemic does not take into account the large migrant population in many major cities where the women are naturally larger, such as the African community.


ChAoTicintheNewYear Report 12 Jan 2013 13:20

Interesting thoughts from both of you, thank you :-)

As I said in my op this subject has come up on other forums so I was interested to see what the opinions of people on here were.

PP you have brought up something that I haven't seen on other's, ie the migrant population, which is something to think about.

Looking at the time, I myself will have to leave soon but please all post your thoughts/opinions. I'll be back later to read them.

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose Report 12 Jan 2013 16:00

I had some of my mum's clothes from the 40s and 50s that I sold on ebay, measuring them to judge size was interesting as they were much smaller than I imagined they would be from the sizing, especially in the waist.

I'm obese, it's a hateful word because it carries implications of laziness, and gluttony lol. And I am aware that it's almost certainly shortening my life ( it's certainly not doing my knees any good!) father died aged 43, but he was not really overweight, his brothers certainly weren't and they died relatively young (70s/80s)

But there again there are lots of people who are thin have a low BMI and who are not healthy. I look back at my mum's life, she didn't drink, smoke, she did weight bearing excercise ( dancing and walking) had been very slim as a young woman, ate well but not to excess all her life...and still developed osteoporosis and Parkinsons and died what I consider to be 'prematurely'.

I do think there is a correlation between the lifestyle most of us live now and overweight... partly due to changes in diet, the pace of life, changes in working one sat at a computer to work back in the day, men did the manual work that is now done by machine...housewives did more manual housework, now done by the hoovers, the dishwasher, washing machine etc.

That said I have some old photo's of my grandmother on dad's side... ( 1940 ish) short and busty, and gt grandmothers on the other side ( 1900 ish) ... tall and busty lol.


DazedConfused Report 12 Jan 2013 16:10

I did not stand a chance in the genetics of being prone to putting on weight.

My mum and her father were big and my paternal grandfather was also a large man. But my downfall is not how much I eat but what I eat. For a large person I am quite a fussy eater (do not like white food - deep problems which I will not go into here). I love fruit and veg, but my big downfall is chocolate and plain crisps. I do not constantly sit around eating all day, in fact chocolate covered crisps would suit me!!!

Until I had the fall (about 3 years ago now) I was extremely mobile, but in my ignorance because I had no bruising, cuts or bleeding I thought I was alright. A lot of pain which eased somewhat after a few days, and the following week went out with OH for the day and by the time we got back to the car (I drive) I struggled to get back into the car. And after a 2 hour drive I did not think I would get back to the house from the car. But again thought it was not a problem and that it would go away. Now I know better.

I have just been refused DLA/Mobility Allowance for the 2nd time, and the lying sods even had the cheek to say they had contacted my doctor when it is on file at the surgery I have sever mobility problems, boy is my doctor going to be 'peed off' when I see him next week. He was not happy when they rejected my first application, he will be fuming this time....


ChAoTicintheNewYear Report 12 Jan 2013 17:00

When I was a child I was always 'encouraged' to clear my plate. Nowadays I find it very difficult not to finish what is on my plate even if I've started feeling full before it's empty. With the size of portions that some places serve I think this must contribute towards eating too much. Yes, it's my responsibility to stop eating but when you've been trained throughout childhood to eat everything it's not an easy habit to break. However, it is something I'm working on.

It does make me wonder though just how many people do eat bigger portions than they should. How many people know enough about nutrition to make informed decisions about what they eat? How many read the labels when buying food or have the mindset that x is low fat so I can eat more of it than the full fat version when in reality the fat has been replaced by sugar so more empty calories.

How many of us snack between meals and not necessarily eating fruit. There's also the fact that it doesn't matter what you eat if you do eat too much you will put on weight, so you can eat healthily but still put weight on.


AnninGlos Report 12 Jan 2013 17:12

I think it was yesterday or the day before that it was in the paper that clothes sizing has definitely changed and what was a size 16 is now a size 14. I wear a mixture, mainly size 16 but some 14s, with me it is tummy and waist, and I did put on weight on my bust when on HRT and can never seem to lose it. Just under 5 ft 3 and weigh 11 stone 1 so just about obese probably. (Agree Rose, a horrible word). I don't eat huge amounts and eat mostly the right foods, watch fat intake because of cholestrol etc, no sugar added to anything. But we do have a couple of G&Ts of an evening, and the occasional glass of red wine. And although I walk to the local shops most days weather permitting I probably don't have enough exercise.

Another thing in the paper, it said a good thing would be for people who work at computers to stand to do it. they suggested adapting work stations to make it so that people had to stand. Surely that would cause other problems? :-S

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose Report 12 Jan 2013 17:24

One of my downfalls..probably THE downfall is that I drink way too that is, with milk and sugar, so my food intake is not huge but my liquid intake is....the times I lose weight are when I'm on holiday and not near the constant siren call of the kettle, or when stress levels are low ( they were once upon a time ) and I don't drink as much for 'comfort'.


ChAoTicintheNewYear Report 12 Jan 2013 17:40

Ann, I put weight on on my stomach too. Nobody as yet has actually asked if I'm pregnant though, maybe they're too scared :-D

I wonder if every kept a food diary for a month what it would reveal with regards to what and how much they eat/drink/exercise. The problem with that though would be if you're anything like me I'd not eat 'normally' because I wouldn't want to have to list it :-S


AnninGlos Report 12 Jan 2013 17:47

That is why people who keep a food diary tend to lose weight I think Cat.


ChAoTicintheNewYear Report 12 Jan 2013 17:58

Oh, dear, I've just realised that my reply to you Ann looks as if either I think you may look pregnant or people have asked you, that wasn't my intention. I was just thinking of someone who was assumed to be pregnant by someone she vaguely knew and was asked when she was due. Really bad grammar on my part :-S

You're probably right wrt the food diary :-) Maybe I should start writing one.


Maryanna Report 12 Jan 2013 18:07

In my late teens early twenties, I was always a size twelve, 34b bust. I could pick up pretty much any item of clothing in a size twelve and it would fit.

I worked in a large department store and a size twelve was 34 bust , 24 waist ,36 hips. and a fourteen 36 bust, 26 waist, 38 hips.

I was also a trained Corsetiere and could pretty much fit bras and girdles by sight without measuring by going by the customers dress size. I think in nearly ten years I only had one or two customers that I didn't have a bra big enough to fit and in those days the largest we sold was 44dd. No such thing as e or f or even double J.

My daughter recently bought a size eight dress, 34 bust 28 waist 36 hips. pretty much the same as the old size twelve but with a bigger waist.

My Mum was a fourteen to sixteen and much smaller than I am at the "same " size .

In the school I work at we have a few chubby children none I would call obese, but of those most of them are from African and Asian origins. M


JustJohn Report 12 Jan 2013 18:08

I am over 6 feet tall and I look quite good at 16 stone, emaciated at 14 stone. Whereas OH feels really fat at 9 stone (she is 5'5"). My ideal weight is something daft like 13stone 7lbs and I would look like Gandhi (at least in the face)

I have thought for years that a food diary, a routine, regular exercise are what matters. Feeling ok about yourself. Taking action when you can't do things anymore like touch your toes, or see your toes even.

Many years ago, I followed Weight Watchers (by mail as I am a man and a coward). I thought it was brilliant, and I also found an RAF fitness plan that suited well at time. It is finding things like that that suit you personally, and enjoying a bit of any food that you really like - but not too much and not too often. And skimmed milk and sweeteners in coffee and tea makes a big difference - and you can have an extra biscuit as a reward :-D


SuffolkVera Report 12 Jan 2013 18:30

I have just checked a few "ideal weight" sites on google and my ideal weight on these vary from 8st. 6lbs to 11st. 7lbs! At 8st 6lbs I'd look like a skeleton - I'm 5' 8" for goodness sake. I normally weigh around 10st 10lbs and my doctor seems happy, so I'm happy. Mind you I would like to rearrange myself so I had less bulk on the waist and tum and a bit more on the arms.

And don't start me on sizing! I have sizes 12, 14 and 16 in my wardrobe and they all seem to fit.

Off now to enjoy my sausage and chips - I'll diet tomorrow.


JustJohn Report 12 Jan 2013 18:35

Tomorow I will start my diet and eat just a banana
Impossible - that's why I call my diet "manana"

M&S have done well with sizing. A Size 18 is retailed as Size 12.

Works in reverse with men's sizes. I have to buy Size 18 shoes if I go to Marks :-( :-(


supercrutch Report 12 Jan 2013 22:33

This is a subject close to my heart. Since I lost a lot of my mobility 5 years ago I have gained one stone, therefore bmi at 28.

So how do I get weight off? Exercise is not possible, I eat reasonably sensibly but a couple of my meds do promote weight gain

My doctors haven't mentioned it yet but I can see the subject being raised by the hospital.

Catch 22.

Clothing sizes have increased in line with national averages plus some shops do flatter to deceive. I couldn't pick up any size and know it would fit I have to try everything on. There appears to be a huge difference, 16 too small 18 too big. Of course you then buy an 18 and grow INTO it, well I do :-(



Susan10146857 Report 12 Jan 2013 22:51

Channel 5 now

50 shocking facts about diet and exercise


JustJohn Report 12 Jan 2013 22:56

I notice when I am working, I walk a lot and don't put on weight and eat quite a bit of food. Probably about 3000 calories a day!

When I am on holiday (like this week), I eat far less yet feel much less healthier and hardly have any exercise. And retirement worries me because I don't have much discipline to go out and take exercise. And only alternative is to eat less and less calories. And food is rather nice.

It must be horrible to be immobile, Sue. Even if you didn't have so much pain. I was hoping that next Wednesday would be start of new life for you. You don't sound huge to me at all, so it sounds like doctors would not criticise. And perhaps they wil be able to give you enough mobility to do some gentle exercises later this year.


ChAoTicintheNewYear Report 12 Jan 2013 23:12

Sue, if you've only gained one stone then you've done extremely well. I need to lose several and I'm in good health.

Thanks to everyone who has posted. I have read the comments and will probably post a few more thoughts tomorrow but am going to bed right now, so I'll bid you all good night and sweet dreams :-)