4/10/2007

"Fit" Doesn't Fit

I do not intend to be mean, unkind, or insulting. And my apologies to the folks in the Trib photo linked to its article on rural fitness. But really, that photo does not seem to make the point that folks are staying fit. Trying? Yes. Succeeding? No.

I think fitness is important. I applaud the Tribune for getting the word out, particularly for folks who may not realize the options they have. But I do not understand the lack of effort in putting it all together. We may not need the ripped models that grace the covers of fitness magazines as our role models, but it seems more appropriate to use a more motivational photo that shows more effort, more results.

I know that the photographers can come up with photos that make the point better--just like a story last week about school employees getting into shape at the Peak. But maybe the Trib photographers only make the effort to take flattering pictures at Benefis affiliates.

10 comments:

Treasure State Jew said...

I am glad I am not the only one who noticed such an ... interesting choice of photos for that story. Talk about a bizarre choice.

david said...

Wow -- I didn't get that vibe at all. Anytime I see ANYONE exercising - no matter their current shape - I am impressed and motivated. I don't think the Trib did a dis-service or otherwise mangled the story...although I suppose that TWO pictures would have been better -- maybe a truly "fit" person to give a visual to the other side of the equation.

Anonymous said...

Rather than mock those who are not fit, perhaps we should give them credit for working out and attempting to be fit. As for the photo, what should the photographer have done? Told the two they were too fat and not worthy of being reproduced in a newspaper? It would seem that would not only be rude but also unethical. If they were the people, working out, the story and photo should reflect that.

We all ain't pretty and skinny.

peggy Beltrone said...

I find the Tribune story, original post and comments relevant to the work I have been doing with the National Association of Counties and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to curb obesity and promote physical activity in rural area. Obesity and physical inactivity are higher is rural areas than urban and suburban areas.

In order to identify the barriers to healthy lifestyles in rural area, our team has reviewed the most current research and have been in contact with national experts. Dr. David Buchner, Physical Activity Bureau Chief for the Centers for Disease Control and a renown gerontologist, enlightened me with this gem. He said that if medical science developed a pill tomorrow to solve the overweight and obesity problem, Americans would face tremendous health problems associated with inactivity. He continued to explain that organ deterioration, bone density, cardiovascular and other serious medical problems would still plague us. His message, "You can be thin and unfit. And no matter how much you weigh, starting a routine of walking just 30 minutes each day will improve your quality of life and extend your life."

This is a message many doctors are giving their patients individually. It is probably much more reaffirming to show people in the newspaper "just like me" taking steps to get moving, than to send a message that gyms and exercise are just for the young and toned.

With the national trends in mind, I am thankful the Tribune featured positive stories of the availability of fitness centers in rural areas.

If you are interested in this topic, I invite you to learn more about the Cascade County Physical Activity Coalition at www.getfitgreatfalls.org.

Hawkeye said...

I gotta go with free thought on this one. We are making weight a politically correct issue. If this were hypertension we wouldn't attempt to hide the numbers. Obese is obese is obese. Weight is no different than blood sugar, blood pressure, blood alcohol level, cholesterol, etc. Let's quit being embarrassed about it and do something. Admitting there is a huge problem is the first step.

Facts from page 3 of Tribune today:
Article: Study Finds 'mind-boggling' increase in morbidly obese

Since the year 2000, an increase of 24% more people obese (more than 30 pounds over; overall 24.6% of the USA is obese

The number of Americans morbidly obese (over 100 pounds over, i.e. morbid means relating to disease, i.e. can lead to death) increased from the year 2000 to 2005 from 4.2 million to 6.8 million. By my numbers that is a 61.9% increase.

Exercise is great but... if you are over 30 pounds overweight and walking 30 minutes daily, you are still at risk for many health problems. While inactivity may be a poor health choice, we are not seeing an epidemic of health problems of the same magnitude in the inactive thin people. Otherwise you would see people having surgery to attach themselves to a treadmills.

Lets quit hiding it. Obesity is the primary problem. Inactivity may lead to obesity and has other problems associated with it.

WolfPack said...

I think the Tribune missed the perfect opportunity to "sex up" the paper by putting a hard body accompanying the article. Fat people know they are fat with out a picture for benchmarking themselves. So they should have done us all a favor and gave us something worth looking at. I see enough flabby every morning while shaving. Was this serious news anyway?

free thought said...

I knew I couldn't put up this post without ruffling some feathers. But I was just not PC enough to stop myself. If we in fact, as a society, are trying to fix the problem, we will not do it by saying (explicitly, or implicitly, like the photo) that being overweight is "fit." Hawkeye's daily affirmation won't prevent a heart attack.

I do not think stating what should have been obvious should be considered mocking. Certainly, the trib would not be "unethical" for not using a photo. To the contrary, if it had a purpose in the story, and the purpose was to motivate people to get fit, it had an obligation to show that fitness in a rural community was feasible. That people could maintain a healthy weight. The photo seemed to indicate that even those doing something about the problem were failing.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Free Thought and Hawkeye on this too. We aren't all pretty and skinny, but the photo was a poor choice for the article and not using it certainly would not have been "unethical." By including that photo with the article the Trib is suggesting this is "fitness" in a rural community. Nobody in their right mind would agree that is any definition of fitness. So get over it, anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how cruel and uncaring the posts are in here. So, local newspapers and TV station only use models for photos and video tell locals they are too fat and ugly? Yes, let's pretend Montana does not have obese people. And for shame, let's just hope none of these people actually goes to a fitness center and tries to lose weight. Those centers are only for the beautiful.

Why, having photos of unfit people might spoil the breakfasts of all the beautiful people in the Great Falls area.

Look in a mirror, people. You all flatter yourselves far too much.

GiftShoppeGuy said...

One thing I can't stand, is having to look at a "hard-body" when it comes to ads or articles such as these. This nation is obsessed with the human body.... too thin, or too fat.... Physical infirmities are a big business in this country....

I don't think we are ever going to get this right.. someone is always going to get their nose out of joint about issues such as these.

Sure, the portrayal of a couple of folks that might be a little on the heavy side, may not have been the very best choice, but I think things like this can be expected from a small town newspaper.

Folks in the rural areas are always going to be heavier... They sleep better, eat better and live at a slower pace than those who would live in an urban environment, littered with stress, crime, noise and bad air.