Thursday, March 28, 2013

Weight and aviation

This week two stories related to aviation and weight caught my eye,

The first involved the recommendation that air passenger fares should be based on the weight of each individual, coupled with how much space they take up. This is because of the relationship between the weight a plane carries and the amount of fuel (expense) that it incurs; as weight increases so does the cost.

Dr Bhatta, of the Sogn og Fjordane University College in Norway, said: “Charging according to weight and space is a universally accepted principle, not only in transportation, but also in other services.

"As weight and space are far more important in aviation than other modes of transport, airlines should take this into account when pricing their tickets.”

Can you imagine arriving at the airport to catch your flight, several weeks even months after booking it. As you check-in you are told that you have to pay extra, because you have gained weight. Or, a more financially rewarding outcome, you are told that you are entitled to a discount, because your are now half a stone lighter than when you booked.

Personally, I can't see charging for weight working, because it would be difficult bordering on impossible to enforce.

The second story involves the cabin crew who works for Air India. All cabin crew members who are over 40 have been told by the Indian aviation regulator, that they only have days to pass a health test. The test includes measuring their height, weight, waist-to-hip ratio and other health indicators such as blood pressure. Any crew who fails the test will not be able to fly.

The health test is a new requirement for male cabin crew. Females (70 %) have always had weight related tests, but were rarely prohibited from flying.

In response, the union has demanded that employees have their free gym membership reinstated . The free membership program was cancelled after 10 years. They are also asking for more time in which to lose weight and improve their overall health. In the past employees were given six months to accomplish this.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Body image issues affects girls and boys

This week, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is planning to argue that Body Image should be taught in schools.
An ATL survey of almost 700 teachers, lecturers and support staff in the UK concluded that body image issues were contributing to low self esteem and self confidence, while at the same time increasing the level of anxiety of children and teens.

    Who is affected by body image issues?
            51% - Both boys and girls

    Who would the children most like to look like?
            Most Common Female: 57% - Rihanna
            Most Common Male : 40% - Harry Styles
Who would the children most like to be like?
            Most Common Females: 50% Cheryl Cole & 34%.Jessie J
            Most Common Males : 38% Justin Bieber & 36% David Beckham
Which media is the most influential (body image)?
            89% - TV shows e.g. Hollyoaks, The Only Way is Essex, Glee ...
            60% - Magazines e.g. OK!, Now, Closer ...

Has body image related pressure changed?
            63 - More pressure than 10 years ago,
            51% - More pressure now than five years ago.

As a company that delivers body image and self-esteem workshops; we concur with the teachers findings.

Boys are every bit as much interested in body image as girls and they also have the similar self-esteem pressures and issues.

In our workshops, we have found that boys contribute as much as girls and sometimes their Interest enthusiasm and contributions is greater than the female cohorts.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, said: “With academic and other social pressures, young people already have enough to deal with. Comparing and competing not only with their peers on looks, but with airbrushed celebrities in the media only leads to misery.”

Last year the All-Party Parliamentary Campaign on body image recommended that all school children should be given body image and self-esteem lessons.

NB. The workshop program has ended.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Born to Lose

On this site, you will find many articles and blogs that discuss the importance of the mind.

We often discuss how our thoughts and beliefs determine our emotional state, self-perception, our perception of others, our actions (and their consequences) and even if we are happy or miserable.

In short, we support the premise that, where the mind goes the man/woman/teenager/child follows.

Two days ago, my local radio was discussing a story that brought this belief to the forefront of my mind. They did so rather compellingly, by telling a short story. I’m not 100% sure it is true, but it certainly gets the point across.

While on holiday a tourist comes across a tattoo parlour. He stands at the window and casually appraises the many different tattoo designs that were on display. Suddenly, a design catches his eye. The longer he looks at it, the more depressed he become.

The tattoo had a single, simple statement. It said, ‘Born to lose’.

Surprised and intrigued, the tourist went into the shop and spoke to the owner.

“Surely”, he said indicating the tattoo, “no-one ever actually has that one. It is a joke… right?”

The shop owner shook his head, negating the tourist’s assumption.

“It’s no Joke. People do request that design”, he replied.

“Why would someone place a permanent tattoo that says ‘born to lose’ on their body? I don’t get it.”

“Before it is here”, said the owner pointing to his own arms, “it is here”, he ended as he very deliberately placed is index finger in the centre of his forehead.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Body Image and Clothes Size

In this article, a mother reflects on a recent shopping trip with her 11 year old daughter.


I knew my daughter had some body image issues; she often complained about her weight and regularly commented that she was the fattest in her group of friends. However, I didn't realise how big the problems were until I took her clothes shopping not long ago.

We had set out with the intension of buying her some new tops and a pair of trousers for a party that she had been invited to. In shop after shop she would pick up the hangers, read the age and only try on clothing labelled ‘Age 11’.

When it became clear that none of the age 11 tops that she liked would fit; she got very upset … distressed even and was soon in floods of tears. She said she was 11 and that she “couldn't fit into any clothes for 11 year olds”.

I tried to comfort her by explaining that the age on the hangers was only an indication. I told her to think about all the 11 year olds in the world… in the country and even in her school. I held up a pair of trousers and told her that like her, many other 11 year olds would not comfortably fit into them.

“For some”, I told her, “it would be too short, for others too long or too tight or too loose.”
I went on to tell her that 11 year olds came in a variety of sizes and shapes. Also, that 11 year old children spanned approximately 12 months. You could be 11+ one 1 day or 12 minus 1 day. I told her that she was a unique individual and that she should not expect every item of clothing labelled age 11 to fit her. I added that sometimes she would need age 12 or maybe depending on the design one aged 13.

Read Article


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fizzy drinks, calories & obesity

Coca-Cola, is the latest food/drinks company attempting to improve the health related perception of its brand.

This week the company’s European president James Quincey said in a statement:

“Obesity is a serious problem and I am determined we will take more actions in Europe to help address it.”

Along with the announcement comes a series of ads; one of which is called ‘Coming together:’

“We have always been sensitive to changing times and to the issues that unite communities”, the ad states.

“Today one of those issues is obesity.

“We continue to innovate, creating smaller portion sizes of our most popular drinks. And we have added the calorie content of all our drinks at the front to help make it even easier for people to make informed decisions.

“We believe that choices, information and activity can help make a difference.

“Healthy living is about balance. The simple common sense fact is that all calories count. If you eat and drink more calories than you burn off you’ll gain weight. That goes for Coca-Cola and everything else with calories”.

In addition to the ads Coca-Cola also announced a change to Sprite. The fizzy drink will now have 30 % fewer calories. Stevia a sweeter (Paraguayan plan) will replace 35g of sugar per can.

The Sprite announcement is in line with previous calorie reductions:

    -    Fanta Orange by 30 %
    -    Oasis by 35 %
    -    Lilt by 56 %

Coca-Cola also plan to reduce by 5% (2014), the calories in all of its fizzy drinks.

Increasingly anti-obesity campaigners have argued that sugar laden soft drinks and the super sized servings served in some outlets e.g. cinemas, significantly contribute to the nations expanding waistlines.

Within the last few days, The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (220,000 doctors) called for a 20% increase in the cost of sugary drinks and other measures e.g. fewer fast food outlets near schools, to prevent the current obesity problems spiralling out of control.


Monday, March 11, 2013

'Beauty is used to deceive us'

Every now and again while doing something that has nothing to do with this site; someone does or says something that fits perfectly with one of the messages of this blog. Today's quote derived from such an occasion.

While listening to reviews for a newly release science fiction book; one of the female reviewers commented that she were surprised that the author had made the main (evil) arch villain beautiful. She went on to say that evil is more often represented us ugly and unattractive and that it was refreshing to see a break away from the norm.

She then insightfully made the following observation, concerning the role of beauty in our society:

“Beauty is used to deceive us. You don’t see it until you are absolutely immersed in it. It is a deception that we can all so easily fall into”.


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Growing up too soon

A Netmums Survey of 1032 parents has highlighted the concerns they have about the pressures on their “tweenage” children (aged 7 to 13) to 'grow up too soon.'

The pressures are detailed in the table below:

Click on picture to enlarge image

Parents also identified the different pressures that affect their sons and daughters:-

Daughters to:
    - 'Be thin'
    - Be Popular on Facebook (number of friends)
    - Show an interest in sex and boyfriends before they were ready.

Sons to:
    - Be 'macho'
    - Believe 'appearance was the most important thing about someone'.

It is clear that seeing their children grow up too fast is extremely difficult for parents to cope with. 20% admitted that they are struggling to accept it, while over 30% were fighting to keep their children 'childlike for longer'.


Monday, March 04, 2013

Peer Pressure

In this months article we will take a close look at peer pressure and how to overcome it.

Peer pressure is a problem more commonly associated with young people in schools, colleges and communities. It involves pressure applied by peers or friends, to do something you think is wrong or something that you feel uncomfortable with. E.g. Taking drugs, smoking, underage sex, watching adult movies, as well as encounters that may put you or others in danger.

A typical situation could be one in which a friend offers you and several others in a group some alcohol, that they have sneaked from a cupboard at home. Others in the group happily take turns to drink some, but you don’t think that you should. What do you do?

Although you may be well aware of the dangers or morals involved and understand that it is wrong, the pressure applied may result in you taking a drink despite your better judgement.

You may be:-
    - afraid of what could happen if you didn’t do what was asked.
    - trying to ‘fit in’ with your friends/peers.

Read Article


Friday, March 01, 2013

'Fat' and 'old' talk

Last night my husband and I watched the second and final episode in the current series of BBC1’s Child of Our Time, presented by Professor Lord Robert Winston. We have enjoyed watching the whole series; one that allows us to catch up with the life journeys of the same group of 25 children (and their families) who like our son, was born in 2000.

As well as remarking on the changing physical appearance of the children, we also discussed the physical and life transformations of their parents.

This one looked older; another seemed to have barely aged a day. One of the mothers appeared thinner while others had gained weight. We also discussed the couples who were still together and those who had parted company.

The conversation then naturally turned to ourselves and we questioned each other about how much/little we too had aged/changed shape in the intervening years.

A new study (Trinity University in San Antonio) published in the Journal of Eating Disorders, suggests that we are not alone when it comes to discussing our body in terms of the size/shape changes and signs of aging. Although largely centred on conversations between women, the study labels our conversation “fat talk” and “old talk” respectively.

In the study researches interviewed over 900 women (aged 18 – 87). The outcome of the discussions lead to the conclusion that that fat talk tended to decrease with age, only to be replaced with old talk.

Dr Carolyn Black Becker, report author said the catalyst for the study, came in the form of a query from a gym owner asking for advice. They wanted to know how to handle women who said “I look so old” and openly discussed “Botox parties.”

The study associated old talk with body dissatisfaction. “They [women who her happy and confident when they were younger] “didn’t expect it [age concerns],” she said. “They didn’t anticipate it.”

Happily, body dissatisfaction was not an issue for me or my husband. To us, watching the programme was like meeting old friends at a school reunion and noting the physical and life changes that they had undergone; while at the same time, speculating on the changes that had also occurred in us.