Pop singer Lizzo has often spoken out against body shaming and urged acceptance. In interviews, she said one of her goals is to get people to realize that fat is normal. On social media, she posts photos celebrating her body.
Lizzo is right. For the U.S., being overweight is “normal.” The average U.S. woman age 20 or older weighs 170.6 pounds, according to Health Line. The average African-American woman weighs about 187 pounds, according to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth.
“I want to normalize my body,” Lizzo told Glamour. “And not just be like, ‘Ooh, look at this cool movement. Being fat is body positive.’ No, being fat is normal.”
But while the “Good As Hell” singer may be right, it doesn’t mean normalizing fat is healthy. Obesity puts people at risk for serious chronic diseases and increases the risk of severe illness and complications from covid-19, Pharmacy Times reported.
Lizzo said she welcomes the conversation about being fat being included in the mainstream narrative.
“What I don’t like is how the people that this term was created for are not benefiting from it,” she said. “Girls with back fat, girls with bellies that hang, girls with thighs that aren’t separated, that overlap. Girls with stretch marks. You know, girls who are in the 18-plus club. They need to be benefiting from…the mainstream effect of body positivity now. But with everything that goes mainstream, it gets changed. It gets—you know, it gets made acceptable.”
African-American women have the highest rates of obesity or overweight in the U.S. — about four out of five — according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health report.
People who are overweight are more apt to suffer from high blood pressure, high blood fat, diabetes and cholesterol – risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
The singer’s stance on normalizing fat has often backfired. “Lizzo’s success as an unabashedly bold, stereotype-shattering, full-figured woman—in an industry and society that upholds slender women as the standard of beauty—has made her an inspiration to many. It has also made her a subject of concern to many others,” Black Enterprise reported.
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Fitness expert and personal trainer Jillian Michaels urged Lizzo fans to praise the performer’s music, not her body.
“Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren’t we celebrating her music? Cause it isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes,” Michaels said during a 2020 BuzzFeed News interview on “AM to DM.”
Michaels later walked back her comments, stressing that while people “are all beautiful, worthy, and equally deserving,” she also strongly believes that “we love ourselves enough to acknowledge there are serious health consequences that come with obesity,” the Washington Post reported.
An estimated 30.2 percent of the 900,000+ U.S. adult covid-19 hospitalizations through Nov. 18, 2020, were attributed to obesity, according to the CDC.