How does obesity affect the public

XXL-Report: This is how fat people are excluded

Obese people are often stigmatized and marginalized in Germany. 71 percent of the population find very overweight people unaesthetic. Every eighth person deliberately avoids contact with those affected. This is shown by the current study "XXL-Report: Opinions and assessments on overweight and obesity" by DAK-Gesundheit. According to the representative Forsa study on behalf of the health insurance company, the majority of respondents believe that obese people are to blame for the extra pounds and too lazy to lose weight. Obesity is a widespread disease that is caused by many factors. In order to refute the widespread prejudices against those affected and to offer a new perspective on the subject of obesity, DAK-Gesundheit and Johnson & Johnson Medical GmbH are launching the awareness campaign “heavy (s) los” as a traveling exhibition.

In Germany, every fourth adult between the ages of 18 and 79 is obese. That's 16 million people. Women and men are equally affected. The proportion of patients with extreme obesity (BMI over 40) more than doubled between 1999 and 2013. Studies show that obesity is the trigger for more than 60 comorbidities.

Every eighth person avoids contact with overweight people

Obese people in this country do not only suffer from their health. They also have to struggle with psychosocial impairments such as exclusion and stigma. This is also shown by the current “XXL Report” from DAK-Gesundheit. Accordingly, being slightly overweight is usually still accepted in our society and sometimes even rated positively. The situation is very different with obesity: 71 percent of Germans find obese people unaesthetic. "Only" 38 percent of fat people say that. Overweight people are also often considered funny (35 percent). Only 13 percent of obese people say this. Almost one in two (43 percent) still finds fat people sociable, only 13 percent do that for obese people. And: one in eight (15 percent) even deliberately avoids contact with them.

“Obese people have a difficult life in our society. They fight against pounds and prejudices, ”says DAK board member Thomas Bodmer. "With our current investigation and awareness campaign, we therefore want to stimulate thought and change the way we view the disease." Chima Abuba, Managing Director of Johnson & Johnson Medical GmbH, adds: "It is an important step to bring obesity into the public discussion and to put an end to the stigmatization of those affected."

The Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Health, Ingrid Fischbach, explained: “The awareness campaign“ heavy (s) los ”encourages people who are overweight to find out about causes and treatments, to counter the prejudices that unfortunately still exist and to take advantage of existing offers . Overweight and obesity are associated with different health risks and have different causes. A healthy lifestyle can avoid overweight and obesity, or at least the health consequences can be reduced. This is also an important concern of the Prevention Act. In this way, we are strengthening health promotion and prevention for all people in the places where they live, learn and work - in day care centers and schools, in cities and communities, and in companies and care facilities.

Simple pointing of blame

Prejudices also become clear when it comes to possible reasons for being very overweight. Almost every second (47 percent) thinks that a lack of exercise and a lot of sitting are to blame. 33 percent indicated wrong or unhealthy diet. Fast food (31 percent), ready-to-eat products (23 percent) and lack of time and convenience (20 percent) are also seen as triggers of obesity by many. On the other hand, health reasons such as metabolic disorders or genetic disposition do not seem to play a role in public. "We don't get any further with simply pointing the blame on those affected, on the contrary," says Claudia Luck-Sikorski. The professor for mental health and psychotherapy at the University of Health in Gera supports the current study and emphasizes: “Exclusion and stigmatization make the situation worse for those affected. You can act like a chronic stressor that can make you sick. "

Disadvantages in everyday life and at work

When it comes to restrictions or disadvantages for obese people, the "XXL Report" shows that 85 percent of Germans believe that obese people have limited health. 71 percent reported problems with mobility, for example when walking or getting dressed. Every second person says that obese people are less socially recognized. 44 percent suspect disadvantages in their job and career due to the many pounds.

Photo exhibition "heavy (s) los" on tour

The results of the study are also the basis for the "heavy (s) los" campaign with a photo exhibition. DAK-Gesundheit and Johnson & Johnson Medical GmbH want to educate nationwide about obesity and refute prejudices. The touring exhibition "Schwer (s) los" presents the disease obesity and those affected in a completely different way. Whether as weightless swimmers under water or prisoners in their own bodies who cannot get out of their skin - the exhibition goes on tour with 26 impressive photographs Germany. Numerous students of the Institute of Design in Hamburg, Berlin and Düsseldorf responded to the initiators' call and creatively implemented the difficult topic of obesity.

Majority thinks they are too fat

Overall, weight also plays a major role for most people. According to the “XXL Report”, 60 percent of Germans consider themselves too fat. More than one in three (37 percent) constantly worry about being too fat or becoming overweight. More than one in five (22 percent) has tried to lose weight through fasting or intensive diets. 17 percent are currently on a diet to lose weight.

Information on the subject of obesity and the awareness campaign “heavy (s) los” is also available on the Internet at www.aktion-schwereslos.de.