One would think that what is healthy would be an objective fact, but that’s not always the case. It is more what is perceived as healthy that shapes our attitudes about certain body shapes. Psychologist Devendra Singh of the University of Texas told Live Science in an interview, “The idea is that beauty is conveying information about health and fertility, and we admire that.” In times of great need, like the Great Depression, appearing too thin was looked down upon, and a more fuller form was preferred. Since then, having extra weight has been a major focus of the health community. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent a billion dollars in 2018 researching obesity alone.
However, weight might not be the most accurate barometer for a person’s health. One of the most popular measurements of weight is body mass index (BMI), but studies have shown that it isn’t a good indicator of cardiovascular wellness (via The New York Times). So, rather than only considering your BMI or the number you see on a scale, it’s probably best to instead concentrate on bettering yourself with healthy eating and exercise, which Dr. Arya M. Sharma, the University of Alberta’s chairman of obesity research and management, told The New York Times. “You might want to focus on being as healthy as you can and not obsess about your weight,” she said. “Obesity management is not about treating numbers on a scale. It’s about improving people’s health.”