Overweight, standards, and judgments, in matters of weight : european comparisons

A few days ago, an article in the Monde.fr, pointed out that France was among the European countries, where the weight average was low, in light of the assessment and the dissatisfaction manifested by the French vis-à-vis their weight. In the April issue of the journal Population and Societies, which is available online free of charge, offers 4 pages back on this topic. Entitled ” Overweight, standards, and judgments, in matters of weight : european comparisons “, this number written by Thibault de Saint Pol is interesting in a double way : it allows to recall the differences gendered in the subjective appreciation of the ideal weight, second, it allows you to point the differences in perception at the european level.

It is not uninteresting to notice, at the time of bloom on the covers of magazines, recipes slimming miracle of the summer, that women are more frequently dissatisfied (51%) than men (39%) of their weight, although these are more often overweight or obese according to the WHO criteria. A difference in gender. Moreover, the reasons of dissatisfaction of each other do not overlap. While men consider the under-weight as a problem, a weight important being a sign of virility, the reader will not be surprised to learn that the situation is different among women, for whom overweight is a problem that is more important that the sub-weight. Note that the sub-weight is devalued among men in all european countries.

At the european level, it is in France, that the under-weight female is the more valued. One can read in this issue that ” In France, the women holding their weight is too low are two times less numerous than those actually under-weight. In Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, the reverse is true : they are more likely to judge themselves as under-weight than they are actually . “

Levels of obesity are perceived differently in different countries, which allows you to point the role of social norms, i.e. expectations are socially constituted in the assessment of individuals : an individual that is too big in France, in an environment where the medium build is low enough, will be satisfied of the same weight in a country where the medium build is higher. As noted by Thibault de Saint Pol, the French seem to have an ideal body weight lower than their neighbors, which may be the sign of a pressure exerted on the body in their countries.

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