CBS NEWS – Erin Farmer has never considered herself obese.
The 25-year-old threw shot put in the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials and was a Division 1 athlete for Arkansas State — but the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said she is.
Farmer, like 42.5% of Americans, has a body mass index of more than 30, making her eligible for the coronavirus vaccine in her home state. At least 29 states have expanded their vaccine eligibility to people who qualify as obese.
When she learned the metric qualified her for the vaccine, Farmer felt a mix of emotions. For one, she was ready to make the obesity label that has followed her throughout her life, usually with negative connotations, work for her.
She also felt that though she met the criteria for a person with obesity, it was an unfair categorization.
“I was an athlete all my life,” she said. “So my weight doesn’t really reflect on how I live my life and my lifestyle. I understand that people feel embarrassed about that because obviously your weight doesn’t determine who you are as a person or how healthy you are.”
And data about public emotions related to obesity bears this out. Nirit Pisano, a clinical psychologist and chief psychologist for Cognovi Labs, a group that uses artificial intelligence to look at public emotion and behavior around certain subjects, decided to use the company’s AI to study the issue after talking with a client who struggled with finding out he qualified for the vaccine as a person with obesity.
“I saw this huge wave of people really emotionally responding to this very thing, so a lot of disgust and anger,” Pisano said.
That’s because the obesity label is a tough one, she said.
“It is an emotional one for a lot of people … “
Click source below to read more.