Bonnie Says: New Study Claims Plus Sized Models Will Make You Fat!

Thu, April 21, 2011 7:27pm EST by 16 Comments

If you’re like me and think boney models are unattractive and terrible body role models for women, then you’re in for a supersize surprise

An astounding new study out of the University of Bologna claims that “chubby models” will increase obesity — already a far more prevalent problem here in America than other eating disorders. In other words, fat models are a worse problem than sub zero size  models!

Dr. Davide Dagone and Dr. Laura Savorelli, who authored the study, write that “given that in the U.S. and Europe, people are on average overweight, we conclude (that using larger models) may foster the obesity epidemic.”

They have a point. Statistics in the U.S. reveal that about two -thirds of American adults are overweight!

There has been a HUGE increase in obesity-related medical problems including diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, in recent decades.

Not only that-  the rate of child obesity has tripled to almost 20% of children between the ages of 6 and 11 being overweight. That’s why the First Lady, Michelle Obama, launched her “Let’s Move” campaign to get kids to be more active.

Now, the study’s authors warn that if we accept plus size models as a normal and good thing, we will believe it is OK — even attractive — to be fat. “Health is on average reduced, since people depart even further from their healthy weight.”

The doctors believe that skinny models are actually good for us all since they provide an incentive for us to control our weight.

Hmm! So they’re saying that looking at pin thins actually has a positive effect — we’ll be more likely to turn down dessert!

Well — I don’t think Dr. Dragone and Dr. Savorelli have been to too many recent fashion shows. The runway models are so scarily, unnaturally thin — they actually make you want to rush out and get a sandwich — FOR THEM!

They don’t exactly make you feel so impressed with their beauty and gorgeous bodies that you want to hit the gym and diet to emulate them.

But I get the Italian doctors’ point — that making rolls of fat a body ideal is just as, or even more harmful  to society because it says it’s OK to be obese.

Celebrity psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman agrees with the study to a certain extent. “Obese models ‘normalize’ obesity and that can give people the excuse to overeat.”

“There is a degree of political correctness involved in us saying it’s OK to use plus -sized models but I really don’t think all models should be either chubby or a size zero,” she adds. “It’s fine to have models who women can aspire to but not so thin that women feel hopeless looking at them.”

Now here’s what’s really interesting – Dr. Gregg Jantz, an eating disorder specialist, totally disagrees with the study’s findings.

“As as eating disorder expert, I would say the skinnier models provide a worse body image and unrealistic standard. Younger girls are especially subjectable to being influenced by underweight models,” says the founder of

He believes size zero models are responsible for an increase in eating disorders in teen girls ages 12 to 14.

Dr. Jantz says we need a mix of models, none of whom have extreme weights, either thin or fat, but who look great at a “normal” weight.

I’m all for that!  The truth is we are an overweight society. We eat too much and exercise too little. That’s why so many celebrities, who look fit and not too thin — from Jennifer Aniston to Jennifer Garner — are the best beauty and body image role models out there.

Agree? What do you think Hollywoodlifers?

–Bonnie Fuller

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Posted at 6:32 PM on April 20, 2012  

Ok really skinny or big who cares its a human being I’m 5’3 and I weigh 135

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Posted at 5:02 PM on February 2, 2012  

I am a size 0-4, depending on what brand I’m wearing. I’m 28, 5’4″ & after having two kids, I’m 115 lbs. I consider myself “normal”, so what’s so wrong with a size 0?! While the AVERAGE person is considerably larger than me, it’s really not fair to say that the smallest sizes are two small.

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Fed up

Posted at 9:21 PM on June 19, 2011  

Please, people, before you harp on “what is normal”, consider that there is no “in between” in the modeling world. I would in no way call your average plus sized model obese, but why does it have to be either stick skinny or plus sized? So the runways and magazines featured size 0-2, then get rained on for promoting stick figures, so then they go to size 8-10. I’m all for diversity, but the big question that comes to my mind is: WHEN WILL THE FASHION INDUSTRY BRING IN SIZE 4-6???

I’m using these sizes just to make the point clear, btw. I don’t really know exactly what sizes these models are, but face it, whether you want to call these girls fat, skinny, normal, what have you, there is a huge gap with no real representation between the stick figures and the plus sizes.

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Tomi Ogundipe

Posted at 6:03 AM on April 27, 2011  

Curvy, fat, skinny, tall, short watevr! Liv ur life d way u wnt it. U cn b fat o skinny n healthy. M approxim8ly 5’3 n okay wif it.Sum 1nz gna luv my smallnes. Kim Kardashn,z 5’2/3 n butiful n curvy. Kate Moss z also pretty n skinny. Sum 1nz gna luv u 4 wat u luk lyk, jst gta b healthy n fit. I prefer curvy- bt nt 2 mch whn it lukz ugly n fake. Skinniness z ok 4 hu evr lykz it bt nt 2 mch skinny den u luk sick.

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Posted at 8:49 AM on April 26, 2011  

So we start putting extreme pressure on kids to be a “normal” weight. Not fat but not too skinny…how does that help the problem? There is still an utter fixation upon weight and an idealised perfect weight in which teenagers especially and members of society are expected to uphold.

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Posted at 12:58 AM on April 26, 2011  

Glad to see a balanced article for once. HL, and Bonnie in particular, harp on girls with slim frames for not being curvy.

Not everyone can be fat like you Bonnie.

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Posted at 12:45 AM on April 26, 2011  

On average the “curvy models” are sizes 8-10 which is below the national average of a size 14. You make “curvy models” sound as though they are “obese!” Not only that but years ago when the models were curvier there was not an epidemic of obesity. However now that scary skinny is in suddenly the growing obesity epidemic is caused by “fat models?” Obviously somebody on the inside is very worried about the fashion industries image….Hmmm sounds kinda like discrimination doesn’t it?

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Posted at 11:19 PM on April 25, 2011  

Seriously? That “plus size” model is Crystal Renn and she’s 5’9 and a size 8-10. How is that even promoting obesity? You’ll find most plus size models are more normal size than obese. I love how they used one of the most unflattering pictures of her. Look her up on google.

I think the most important thing is that models should be healthy BUT there should be a variety of sizes on the catwalks. From curvy (actually curvy) to a natural size zero. From tall to short. We all come in different sizes and should be represented.

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yeah yeah

Posted at 10:20 PM on April 25, 2011  

we need models that are normal not ones that dont eat or eat to much we need some1 who is a good role model. skinny 1ns make girls insicur efat 1ns make girls think oh well ya know??????

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Posted at 8:51 PM on April 23, 2011  

seriously? i understand not having plus sized models, but that woman being displayed as a plus sized model is in no way plus sized, shes totally average but seems to be wearing some ill-fitted clothing. so average is now fat? no wonder theres such an epidemic of low self-esteem running through my generation. that woman seems to be the same size as me and im average. i realize that the study may have some validity and that we should not support the growing obesity rate in this country but dear lord, wheres the line? average becomes plus sized so you have only two directions to go, rail thin or “fat”. a little weight on a woman is more attractive and healthy and yet its made to look unacceptable and undesirable. theres just something wrong with this on so many levels.

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Posted at 6:06 PM on April 23, 2011  

Gotta say, I’m glad to see that my general disgust with this “experiment” is shared! Can I point out, also, as a social scientist myself, that the study cited in this article is complete BS?! Where are the statistics? Where’s the research question? WTF, exactly, are they using as the IV and DV? Where is the data collection? Making an esoteric connection like that isn’t science. It’s what 3rd graders do to make fun of the fat kid. By this logic I could claim with just as much certainty that Robert Pattinson is the reason meth use has increased. Since he made his first on-screen appearance the number of meth users have certainly gone up, so hell why not? Let’s make him our next social outcast.

It’s unfortunate that this pseudoscience got any coverage at all, since society was in an upturn and finally realizing that a little bit of meat on a woman is not only healthy, but attractive as well! As others before me have already stated, that woman is NOT plus size, and if she is the definition of overweight then the western world is in for a huge population decrease in the next decade…

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Posted at 5:34 PM on April 22, 2011  

That “plus size” model isn’t even that big! She looks to be about a size 6. Is that plus size now?!

She’s only slightly bigger than the skinny girl and just wearing an ill-fitting dress with poor supporting undergarments.

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Posted at 4:08 PM on April 22, 2011  

But what’s a “normal” weight.. I believe we’ll just have to accept the fact that there will always be a weight issue.. And learn to love ourselves.. But I will add as long as you believe in be active. And that total body fitnes is and should be a lifestyle, just like everything else has become a lifestyle. I guarantee we’ll live in a healthier, more fit world..

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Posted at 8:29 AM on April 22, 2011  

if that’s what they’re calling plus sized those models would give girls an even worse body image problem.. jesus.. how bout you put some real women up there and then we’ll see

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Posted at 11:46 PM on April 21, 2011  

That curvy model is not overweight. She is wearing an unflattering outfit that would not look good on anyone. She is still skinnier than the average woman. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and runways should show that, in flattering ensembles.

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Posted at 9:24 AM on April 22, 2011  

You are absolutely right. The “curvy” girl does not have a single curve on her body. She is just as stick thin as the other girl, but she’s wearing an ugly outfit. It is most appropriate to have models that reflect all different sizes…there are healthy girls who are not particularly curvy and there are curvy girls who are thin. We are complicated creatures, and it would be nice if our models reflected that complexity as well.

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