Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year

Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!


Monday, December 27, 2010

Weight gain

A new study by Oxford University has found that  British males now weigh a stone more than they did in 1986.  The report allege that men are gaining weight at an alarming rate. The cause? Increased calorie consumption and reduced physical activity.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF), who funded the study, said that the average male now has a much higher risk of having a stroke, diabetes and heart disease.

Similarly, the average female’s weight has increased by 12 lbs in the same period.  Women's weight gain is attributed to increased portion size.

The National Obesity Forum said the problem will persist until legislation is developed to address it. 

Legislation? Surely increased awareness, personal responsibility and self control are all that's required.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Body image and success

Recently,  New Scientist reported that media images of super skinny models and celebrities did not cause negative body image and eating disorders.  The researchers believe that body image issue arose from the media's portrayal of successful women.

The studies established that women who were less happy with their bodies were more likely to restrict their eating habits after seeing images of successful women, even if these women were the same weight as themselves.  It concluded that subsequent (after seeing images) body image problems were due to the attribution of success to youth, thinness and beauty.

What do you think of the findings of this study?


Thursday, December 16, 2010

'Sugar Plump' ballet dancer

In a recent review of The Nutcracker, writer Alastair Macaulay commented that ballerina Jenifer Ringer looked as though she’d had “one sugarplum too many.”

37-year-old Jenifer  has battled anorexia and compulsive eating throughout her career and initially declined the role in the Christmas ballet due to weight gain.

Jenifer took the swipe with grace, saying the comment hurt initially, but that it is part of being a professional in a field that demands perfection. 

“As a dancer, I do put myself out there to be criticized, and my body is part of my art form. At the same time, I am not overweight.”

She said: "I'm not overweight If you're too thin, really, you can't do the job." She said she had a "more womanly body type than the stereotypical ballerina".

"It made me feel bad, it's embarrassing", she told NBC's Today Show. adding, "I really had to tell myself it's one person's opinion out of 2,000 people who were there that night."

Macaulay wrote a second article responding to the wave of criticism in which readers had described his review as "appalling," "heartbreaking," and "hurtful".

His reply was unapologetic. “Some correspondents have argued that the body in ballet is ‘irrelevant.’ Sorry, but the opposite is true. If you want to make your appearance irrelevant to criticism, do not choose ballet as a career....Which art requires more exposure of the human form than the nude in painting, photography or sculpture?" he asked. "Ballet, of course.... If you want to make your appearance irrelevant to criticism, do not choose ballet as a career." He also mentioned that no one took offense to his criticism of a male dancer’s weight.

So who’s side are you on? The performer with the damaged self-esteem or the critic?


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Child sexualisation and the watershed

On Saturday night, I sat with my excited 8 year old daughter to watch X Factor (7pm - 9pm).  The programme was also being taped.  I sat in stunned silence following Christina Aguilera and her dancers appearance on screen.  I was horrified that ITV thought it was acceptable to broadcast sleazy soft porn imagery complete with provocative costumes and simulated sex before the watershed.

Luckily, I quickly came to my senses and changed channels, much to my daughters dismay.

"You said I could watch X Factor", she protested.

"You can", "I replied. "In about 5 minutes when that song is finished. I don't want to watch, nor do I want you to watch half dressed people dancing like that. It's disgusting and unnecessary. Christina Aguilera can sing, she does not need to dress like that. True talent can be seen and heard; there is absolutely no need or excuse for dressing and dancing like that!".  She gave me a look of pure exasperation, but wisely said nothing.

Both ITV and Ofcom have received over 1,000 complaints about Christina Aguilera's act.  Ofcom’s broadcasting code states that ‘children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them ... Material that is unsuitable for children should not, in general, be shown before 9pm or after 5.30am.’  The code also states that: ‘Any discussion on, or portrayal of, sexual behaviour must be editorially justified if included before the watershed.’ Ofcom are assessing whether to launch a full-scale investigation into whether the raunchy material was ‘editorially justified’.

At the UK premiere of Burlesque last night, Christina Aguilera was asked if she thought her X Factor routine was too raunchy.

"I don’t think there is such a thing as being too raunchy when it comes to the art form of burlesque", she replied.

I've since learned that Rihanna's routine was equally inappropriate for younger viewers.  Luckily, my daughter and I were having supper and I missed it.

As for the recording; it was immediately deleted.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Dannii Minogue's growing confidence

Here are two interesting reports about Dannii Minogue' self confidence:-

i) Contactmusic

"When I first came here”, Dannii confessed, “ it was hard because it was Kyliemania. She was this cute little thing and I was the fat, ugly sister. Can you imagine for years being asked what it's like to be Kylie's sister?" she asked.

 ii) Marie Claire

"There was no headline that someone could write about me that would make me do that [diet to the point of anorexia] to myself... There were some horrific headlines. Had I not been confident about myself and my body, I would have been in a load of trouble."

These two reports are clearly from different times in Dannii’s life.  They are interesting, because they are diametrically opposite. It’s inspiriing  to read about Dannii's journey towards greater self confidence.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Girls versus boys - Weight


The Institute of Education recently conducted a study of 11,000 children, born between 2000 and 2002. The study found that by the age of seven, girls are almost 50% more likely to be overweight than boys . 

Principal author Dr Alice Sullivan said:  “Girls are more likely to become overweight between the ages of five and seven ….. It is not clear whether the increased risk for girls and lone children is due to them being overfed, or less physically activity, or some combination.”

Interestingly, the researchers also found that the weight of a child’s parents and the number of siblings they had,  also affects obesity levels.   Children with an overweight parent tended to weigh move. Only children are 25% and 30% more likely to be overweight when compared with children with one and two siblings respectively.

The researchers have concluded that having overweight children is “a family problem",  and that health messages should be targeted at mothers in particular.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Tips to Avoid Weight Again Over Christmas

I was watching one of the numerous diet shows on TV when someone said “every where you look, fat is calling”. With the current half price deals on chocolate, alcohol, biscuits and cakes of every description; we are not surprised that on average women gain 5lbs over Christmas. Enough weight gain for you to start to New Year struggling to get into your favourite pair of jeans or one dress size larger.

Here are some tips to help you avoid the worse effects of additional calories, while allowing yourself some festive indulgences.

1. Avoid overeating at parties or social gatherings.
2. Avoid overeating on Christmas day.
3. Avoid overeating Christmas dinner.
4. Avoid additional snacks and leftovers.
5. Avoid drinking too much alcohol.

Read article.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Your Hired

A new study, by Prof. Bradley Ruffle of Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, has found that being good looking is good for a man's job prospects, but is not so good for a women's.

Researchers discovered that job applicants in Europe and Israel were increasingly asked to attach photos of themselves in the top corner of their CV's.

During the study 5,312 CV's (in pairs) were sent to 2,656 advertised job openings. In each pair, one CV had no photo while the second contained a picture of either an attractive or a plain looking male / female.

The results showed that attractive men got more second interviews compared to the men with either no picture or were plain in appearance.

The opposite was found to be true for attractive women. "Among female candidates, no-picture females have the highest response rate, 22 percent higher than plain females and 30 percent higher than attractive females," Ruffle concluded.

The reason? According to the researchers, most of corporate personnel employees who were sorting through CV's are young, single women. Presumably, they weren’t keen on hiring the competition.

The female jealousy of attractive women in the workplace is a primary reason for the punishment of attractive women, according to the study.

Previous research, however, has found that good-looking female workers received higher raises than their plainer counterparts.