Image via Think Stock
Take a look at the below picture.
If you had to guess, how many of the below women would you say are a “healthy” weight?
If you picked anything besides number two, number three or number four, you're wrong.
Surprised? Yeah, we were too.
According to an article from The Guardian this week, the above scale is a "body image scale", based on BMI, which identifies women who are at various stages on the BMI scale.
Number one is underweight; numbers two, three and four are healthy; number five is overweight; numbers six and seven are obese; numbers eight and nine are morbidly obese.
The scale was given to African American females by researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Researchers specifically chose African American women from a low-income background, as that particular demographic has the highest obesity rates in the US.
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They were also interested in seeing how culture affects the perception of health - in the African American demographic, it's more culturally acceptable to have a larger body size.
So just how fat is considered to be "too fat" by African American women? The researchers wanted to know. And so they asked the women to do two things:
1. Identify which of the women were overweight and obese, but also identify which of the women were "too fat" to be healthy;
2. Identify which picture featured a women of approximately the same size as themselves.
The study discovered that women generally only identified two of the body types as "too fat" - number eight and number nine. And although they identified other bodies in the scale as overweight, they didn't also classify them as "too fat" - showing that, for their particular demographic, overweight doesn't necessarily equal unhealthy. In these women's minds, there is only cause for concern when morbid obesity begins to come into the picture.