Health & Wellbeing

Loose Lips

Woman with shopping bag

Another ‘loose woman’ has taken a bashing this week for comments made on the ITV show in relation to dress size and the availability of plus size clothes on the High Street.

Former pop star, Jamelia offended many when she stated on Loose Women her opinion that plus size clothes should only be available in specialist shops. Commenting during a discussion on whether plus-sized clothing should be marketed to overweight teenagers, Jamelia said that making plus-sized clothes readily available on the High Street goes some way to facilitating ‘people living an unhealthy lifestyle.’

When given the opportunity to clarify her stance, following a string of viewers’ tweets in response, Jamelia said that any clothes outside the range to accommodate healthy body sizes shouldn’t be stocked as they shouldn’t be ‘normalised in high street stores. They should have specialist shops.’

I have some sympathy for Jamelia, one of the most likeable of the Loose Women gang, as she has suffered a barrage of abuse on social media and has been forced to defend her stance on morning television and apologise to all those she has apparently offended.

She’s been taken out of context to some extent and she has made it clear that she is referring to extreme sizes, including those at the lower end of the scale, but the genie is out of the bottle and she’s this week’s public enemy number one (kindly giving the BBC’s director general a break after he failed to renew Jeremy Clarkson’s contract last month).

Truth is that there are far bigger sizes readily available on the High Street as we get bigger as a nation. The shops are simply responding to demand. Larger sizes are becoming more ‘normalised’ reflecting the fact that we are a nation with a weight problem.

The NHS estimates that one in every four adults in the UK is obese and around one in every five children aged 10 to 11. This is a huge problem and yet we carry on ignoring it.

Last year, research showed that fewer than one in ten people who are obese would describe themselves as such and most people with a weight problem seriously underestimate it.

If people aren’t recognizing that they are far bigger than is healthy then we are making being overweight the new normal. This impacts on the health of the overweight individual and also impacts on an already stretched to breaking point NHS.

It’s been a bad week for Jamelia and an even worse week for common sense.