According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly one-third of adults in the United States are obese. This proportion is certainly higher among people with diabetes; insulin resistance, a hallmark of Type 2 diabetes, and obesity are both elements of the metabolic syndrome. (Other traits are high blood pressure and abnormal blood lipid levels.)
It is no secret that a large body size can create difficulty – not just practical problems, but also emotional stress in the face of bias against heavy individuals. The following resources address both types of challenges, providing tips, products, support, and advocacy for plus-size people.
LOVETOKNOW PLUS SIZE
This Web site is mainly focused on clothing, with pages on where to buy the best accessories, formal wear, and casual outfits, as well as niche products such as vintage clothes, costumes, and organic clothing. It also has blogs on plus-size fashion. The site has a section called “plus size living” with topics that include bicycles, art, and exercise equipment.
This now-defunct “magazine for large women” still provides many of its articles for free online. Topics include fashion, exercise, dating, art, and activism; there are also interviews with accomplished and famous women. Back issues of the magazine are available for purchase on the Web site.
Exercise and health
REAL FITNESS FOR REAL WOMEN
Grand Central Publishing
New York, 2001
This book offers a six-week exercise program that is tailored, physically and psychologically, to plus-size women. It outlines 25 different exercises designed to achieve physical and mental well-being – not necessarily weight loss – while emphasizing that improving one’s fitness to feel better is possible at any weight.
YOGA: JUST MY SIZE WITH MEGAN GARCIA
This 28-minute DVD is a beginning yoga session for plus-size women. Its host emphasizes both the physical rewards of yoga – including greater energy and flexibility – and its tendency to promote calm and confidence. Poses are taught with tips on how to modify them with props and furniture. The DVD also includes an interview with the host.
ABOUT.COM: PLUS-SIZE EXERCISE
This article outlines how an overweight or obese person can begin an exercise routine. It covers basic topics such as gyms versus home exercise equipment and what to wear.
ABOUT.COM: PLUS SIZE WALKING CLOTHES AND ACTIVEWEAR
This page links to reviews of exercise pants, shorts, tops, underwear, and winter wear, as well as to companies that specialize in plus-size athletic clothing.
BIG, BEAUTIFUL & PREGNANT
Cornelia van der Ziel, MD, and Jacqueline Tourville
Da Capo Press
New York, 2006
This is a general book on pregnancy for overweight and obese women, giving special emphasis to such topics as finding an understanding doctor, the likelihood of a Cesarean section, and gestational diabetes.
This page, part of a site that sells airplane seat belt extenders, offers bigger travelers tips for both booking flights and getting through a trip. There is a link to a seat size table for coach seats in standard planes of the major airlines.
This Web site has airplane seat maps for the planes of nearly every airline, showing the possible variations in layout and giving each seat a comfort rating. It also has comparison charts of seat measurements as well as general travel tips.
This page contains a brief review of Orlando, Florida, theme parks from a plus-size perspective.
LivingXL sells a variety of home furnishings and personal items for large people. This includes both indoor and outdoor furniture in many styles, exercise equipment, sports and exercise clothing, and outdoor gear including hammocks, life vests, and sleeping bags. Orders can be placed either on the Web or by phone. A print catalog is available upon request.
Fax: (949) 855-8384
MySizeUSA.com sells non-clothing products for large people including benches and rails, portable outdoor furniture, travel products, hygiene aids, and exercise equipment, including bicycles, tricycles, and bike accessories. Orders can be placed on the Internet, by phone, or by fax using a downloaded form.
P.O. Box 116
Bearsville, NY 12409-0116
Fax: (845) 679-1206
Amplestuff sells practical items including travel products, shoe accessories, mobility aids, large-capacity scales, and several types of reaching devices. It also has books and both audio- and videotapes for sale. Orders can be placed online or by phone, or by mail or fax using a downloaded form.
Zize (rhymes with “size”) builds bicycles and tricycles designed for large people. A variety of styles and models are available, including electric bikes. Zize also sells bike accessories. Orders can be placed online, by phone, or by e-mail.
COUNCIL ON SIZE AND WEIGHT DISCRIMINATION
P.O. Box 305
Mt. Marion, NY 12456
Fax: (845) 679-1206
This organization aims to fight weight bias by providing information to the public and the media. Its Web site has statistics and studies on weight discrimination in employment, as well as advice and tips on health, body image, and dealing with discrimination.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION TO ADVANCE FAT ACCEPTANCE
P.O. Box 22510
Oakland, CA 94609
NAAFA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to fight weight bias. It advocates for both public and business policy changes and aims to educate the public about weight-related issues. Its Web site has a tool kit for businesses on “size diversity,” answers to frequently asked questions about weight bias, and information on the group’s upcoming annual convention.
RUDD CENTER FOR FOOD POLICY AND OBESITY
P.O. Box 208369
New Haven, CT 06520-8369
The Rudd Center includes in its mission both prevention of obesity through research and advocacy on food and physical activity, and fighting the stigma associated with weight. The Web site’s section on weight bias has videos about the effects of discrimination at home, at school, and in health-care settings. The site also provides study findings, policy reports, and materials created for parents, school personnel, policymakers, health-care providers, and young people.
THE BODY POSITIVE
P.O. Box 7801
Berkeley, CA 94707
Fax: (510) 558-0979
This organization promotes the idea of Health at Every Size (HAES), which holds that people should eat nutritious food, engage in enjoyable physical activity, and not focus on specific weight goals. The group provides research-based advice and develops materials for school programs on body image. The Body Positive program is also aimed at universities, businesses, and social organizations with child or adult members; lecturers are available for hire. In addition, the group offers personal coaching (by phone, on the Internet, or in person) to people with body image difficulties. Its Web site has information on starting or getting involved with an HAES program as well as educational materials for purchase.