Weight management clinic criticises plus-size casting

The plus-size movement has been enjoying a moment in fashion as of late

Weight management clinic criticises plus-size casting

Plus-sized model Ashley Graham attends the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017 NYC launch, in which she is featured. | Image: Evan Agostini AP/Press Association Images

The director of an Irish weight management clinic has criticised the casting of plus-sized models for in catwalk shows.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Consultant Endrocrinologist and director of the weight management clinic at St. Colmcilles Hospital, Professor Donal O’Shea called it a "dangerous trend".

"I think it's glamourising obesity," he said. "Unfortunately, obesity brings disease - cancer, dementia, diabetes - and society has to make a decision. Do we accept that obesity is now the new norm? If we accept that than we have to gear up our health service to deal with what we're already struggling to cope with.

"You have to look at it like smoking. Back in the sixties, cigarettes were given out to kids to get them hooked because the cigarette industry knew [that if you] get them young, you have them for life," professor O'Shea added.

He further argued that using thin models in fashion shows is not detrimental to people, specifically in relation to the development of eating disorders.

"It's very clear from the Royal College of Psychiatry that if you emphasise a healthy weight and healthy eating that you do not grow significant problems with eating disorders, you do not grow significant problems with eating disorders [...] That argument needs to be put to bed.

"The stick thin, 'heroin chic', that's an awful image and that's not acceptable either and should not be promoted."

Body image

On the issue of body image, Professor O'Shea said there is a positive and a negative to any message.

"I want obese individuals to know that if they get physically fit and have good self-esteem they won't have almost any of the negative health consequences of obesity. But the majority of individuals in Ireland are not physically active enough. 

"The overall message that you have to stand back and look at - making obesity socially acceptable - is a major threat to the health of our country.