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Anna Wintour Says the US Pays More Attention to Anorexia Than Obesity

Does the US Pay More Attention to Obesity or Anorexia?

We refer to obesity as an epidemic and talk about anorexia as an eating disorder, but both illustrate our extreme relationships with food. Disordered eating is a regular topic in Lifetime movies and TV talk shows, and there are occasionally real-life documentaries of young women battling anorexia. When a fashion model suffers from an eating disorder, we hear about it in the news.

Obesity has been making news headlines for the past decade or so, with a heavy hand coming down on fast-food restaurants. Obese individuals have made their stories public with several reality TV shows, and there's a push for parents to take responsibility for teaching their kids' healthy-eating habits.

In a recent interview, Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour surmised her thoughts on eating issues in the US.

I'd just been on a trip to Minnesota, where I can only kindly describe most of the people I saw as little houses. There's such an epidemic of obesity in the United States, and for some reason, everybody focuses on anorexia.

Ironically, Minnesota is one of the healthiest states in the nation. Do you agree with Anna's comment about everyone focusing on anorexia?


Join The Conversation
dikke-kus dikke-kus 8 years
Its very very important for people to understand that it's not food that's the problem here. It's our lifestyle. Eating habits and dieting is attacking a problem from the outside in. Like trying to cure cancer by using a skin cream, when what you need is internal medicine. They way we work more hours here, and less vacation than anyone else in the world. The way our cities are laid out, that we can't walk to our grocery stores or to our friends. How we can't ride our bikes to the town centers and jump on highways to get a can of coke. Food and anorexia obsessions and stomach crunchers and diet books. No one will ever find answers in that. Not ever. Go to Holland sometime and watch women ride 5 miles home on a bike with two grocery bags and ask yourself if she diets.
missavogue missavogue 8 years
IF you listen to what she said, she was trying to make a point that people should be HEALTHY, not anorexic. In the fashion industry, anorexia is a very big deal. Anna has been through what happened in Milan a few years ago when models below a certain weight were banned from the runways. Things like that is what she is basing what she said on. In fashion, anorexia is brought up more than obesity. She runs a FASHION magazine. And, in her defense (which I guess this whole comment is, because I do completely agree with her), she was asked to explain her vision on an image that ran in Vogue of an obese woman. Her concern was drawing attention to obesity as a disease, and not to insult anyone who is overweight. She actually called the image beautiful.
chloevios chloevios 8 years
i guess anorexia. just look at hollywood celebs. most of them are superr skinny. anorexic for some. it's their trend. haha
blondie829 blondie829 8 years
Anna Wintour just made me not want to buy Vogue ever again. Stupid a$$...ugh
syako syako 8 years
I agree that adding "overweight" in the category is misleading in terms of describing an "obesity epidemic"
Zulkey Zulkey 8 years
I don't think that the obesity epidemic is about those extra ten pounds some of us carry around from that extra glass of wine or piece of cake though.
Shebelle Shebelle 8 years
That is not quite true. Studies have recently shown that active, overweight people are healthier than sedate people who have and "ideal" weight. But of course, the diet industry - which is one of the biggest industries in the US - wouldn't want you to know that. There have been many, many studies recently which support that. I am not saying that it's ok to eat unhealthy and not work out but it IS ok to weight a few pounds too much if you lead a healthy lifestyle.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
I said 70% (and that's a higher estimate, I think the real number is 65-68%) because I was referring to OVERWEIGHT not obese. It's not okay to be simply "overweight but not obese". 34% "obese" is horrific. I can't believe it's gotten this bad here.
syako syako 8 years
Oh and I agree, one third of the pop should never be "only" :)
Zulkey Zulkey 8 years
syako syako 8 years
I said "only" because someone else had said 70 percent.
misskacie misskacie 8 years
Oh Anna, Anna, Anna. I enjoy your magazine (well, MOST of the time), but kindly shut your mouth. You are clearly completely detached from the real world. Shebelle, my experiences line up 100% with yours. Right on.
Zulkey Zulkey 8 years
Syako, I personally wouldn't say "only" 34% of people are obese. from Wintour's POV I'm sure she gets way more flak for skinny models than she does for putting more 'realistically' sized women in the magazine. I think that when it comes to obesity/anorexia, part of it is that we so often reassure ourselves (accurately or not) that a "real" woman has curves and muscle. It would be interesting if instead of "obesity" we talked about, say "Binge Eating Disorder" which is more aptly compared to anorexia than just general obesity. I have mixed feelings about it. I don't think Wintour is totally wrong. But on the other hand, who gives a wonk what she thinks: 98% of us are too hideous to be in her magazine.
Lilybeth84 Lilybeth84 8 years
Shebelle, I totally agree with you. The amount of time, money, and obsession about weight here is a major problem. When I was in Europe I saw many people who were the same size as me and not many who were bigger or smaller. I felt "normal" and relaxed. Here in the States, I am constantly focusing on my size and how there are others who look better in a bikini than me. If only we could stop obsessing about a few pounds here or there, we would all be better off. I am not talking about those suffering from obesity. This is still a major issue. But perhaps, all this obsession with weight has been a small part of the problem of why people get obese to begin with.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
What a strange thing for her to say.
Shebelle Shebelle 8 years
I just moved here half a year ago from Europe. I have to say America is obsessed with both obesity and anorexia. However I do agree with what a lot of the posters here say - obese people are being blamed and shamed everywhere. I have lived in several different European countries before I moved here and NOWHERE is weight made into such an issue. From doctors who don't give obese patients proper treatment because all they can focus on is their weight to people thinking that everybody is on deaths door who is 5 pounds overweight. People - there is such a thing as being healthy and having a few too many pounds. I lived in Holland for a long time where most people are either a normal size or a few pounds overweight. There are not many very skinny or very overweight people. They eat mostly what they want to eat but they also work out most days. Cycling is part of their live and they are incredibly healthy people. It's not like people don't talk about their weight ever but it's also not such a big deal. It's not the most shameful thing in the world if you are a size 12, it's ok. Moving to the US was really a shock for me. There is such an obsession with food in this country! And the way bigger people are being viewed is disgusting! Not everybody who is a few pounds overweight is a sloth who is living on burgers and soda. If you want to do something about the obesity problem here start with the schools. I mean - the stuff that is being served in schools! Pizza and fries do not belong in a school cafeteria! School sport should be something enjoyable and not something scary. Those kids grow up on processed foods, you can hardly blame them for growing up to be big people. And what about high-fructose corn-syrup? It's been proven to be bad for you, how can that still be allowed in food?
syako syako 8 years
It's actually only 34 percent of Americans who are obese. (The National Center for Health Statistics show that more than 34 percent of Americans are obese - from Jan. '09)
tripleee tripleee 8 years
America encourages obesity. Bottom line. If more people would exercise and not over-eat, we would not only all have lower health costs, but less people on prescription drugs!
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
While I don't think that Anna Wintour is necessarily one to talk about being healthy (especially because she lives in that fashion bubble that requires one to be thin), she does have a point about obesity. Obesity is not necessarily a mental issue, as someone said. Most people are fat because they make bad food choices that can be avoided. People consume large quantities of pre-packaged junk that's cheap - that is why they are fat. No one weighs over 200 lbs because they gorge themselves on truckloads of vegetables. It's easy to buy a pack of pop tarts or order a pizza. It's EASY to get fat! That's the major problem. It's not just the people who are the problem - it's the society we live in. And it's not just happening in the states - this is something that is happening worldwide. I live in South Africa and I can tell you that there are plenty of mini-houses popping up around here, too! How about everyone stops blaming the media for a second and start making intelligent food choices? Because it's easy to go to McDonalds, that's why. You're not going to lose weight & be healthy by being a complacent drone who blames the world for your problems.
familyfitness familyfitness 8 years
I think there is a greater focus on obesity, because it is a more "accessible" form of disordered eating, if you will. "Oh, who couldn't lose a few pounds?" We all go up and down. It's normal. So I think we hear about it more and accept it as part of life. We don't often look beyond diet and inactivity as reasons for being obese. Yes, those are causes, but what's behind it. And yet, when we talk about anorexia, there is an instant fixation on the person's mental health. "Why doesn't she eat? It's all about control! She should know better!" Well, can't we say the same thing about the obese?" We don't just overeat because we enjoy the taste of food. We overeat because we enjoy the taste of food AND it makes us feel better about whatever we think is wrong with us. But that is so often overlooked. "Oh, she's just fat. She needs to work out and lay off the cupcakes." Let's ask why she's downing cupcakes nonstop in the first place. She's trying to fill a hole, with food, just as anorexics are trying to dig a hole, if you will, without food. Not sure if that last part makes perfect sense, but it's been a long day! But with all of that said, here's a shoutout to Anna Wintour: how dare you? You look like you haven't eaten in years and no amount of spa treatments and high tech glamour is going to make you look healthy. People like you give others the idea that they need to starve themselves in the first place. I wonder if it's healthier to be a rail or a "little house"?
Merlin713 Merlin713 8 years
Since most of you have already hashed this all out... I will say that as a lifelong healthy resident of MN, I'd like to give her a virtual slap across the face. :oy:
cnyc1a cnyc1a 8 years
I think the media focuses too much on weight in general. Every-time I pass a trashy rag mag I always see something about how Scary Skinny a certain someone is or how Fat they got. In general America is obsessed with weight. In every strip mall there's five fast food restaurants with one Jenny Craig near it or some sort of gym. We haven't found a balance and I think it's because we are over consumed with everything as a society.
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