The term ‘cavesman’ was coined by scientists to describe the condition of having a very low body weight and a high body fat percentage.
The term has become synonymous with a particular group of people, but it is not without its detractors.
They argue that the word, which was coined to describe someone who is extremely thin, may have become a stigma that perpetuates unhealthy eating habits and stigmatises those who have high body weight.
Dr Mimi Langer, a psychologist and researcher at the University of Florida, has spent decades researching the stigma of people with a low body mass index (BMI), or BMI.
She is one of the first to call out the term’s problematic connotations.
“When we think about obesity, we’re thinking about something like a caveman, we think of the type of person that we think is skinny,” Dr Langer said.
A lack of activity Dr Langers research has revealed that in terms of exercise, the ‘cavities’ and ‘caving’ are two terms commonly used to describe people with low body weights. “
If you’re someone that has a BMI of under 25 and you’re a person that has been obese for a long time, you’re very, very likely to have some degree of morbidity, but you also may be more likely to live a long and healthy life.”
A lack of activity Dr Langers research has revealed that in terms of exercise, the ‘cavities’ and ‘caving’ are two terms commonly used to describe people with low body weights.
For example, people with BMIs between 25 and 35 are often described as ‘cavaliers’ who “have an extraordinary capacity to exercise and run”.
“When I started studying this issue, I started to hear people saying that they were the kind of people that were not very active,” Dr Pritchard said.
She found that many people who were obese and in a ‘caloric deficit’ were not motivated to exercise.
“What you see in the literature is that a lot of these people don’t exercise very much at all, they do it because they are obese, and they have a very high body body fat,” Dr Prindle said.
Dr Lander said people who are in a caloric deficit, or have a low weight but a high BMI, are not as motivated to get active.
“This is because they’re thinking ‘what are the calories worth in my body?’ and not being able to look at the nutritional value of a food,” Dr Dolan said.
In a survey of over 5,000 Australians aged 18 and older, Dr Langeres research found that about 80 per cent of people who had an obese BMI and a low BMI were likely to be obese and unhealthy.
However, Dr Pringle said that there is no reason why this can’t be applied to people with higher BMI.
“There’s no reason for someone to have a high fat mass or a low fat mass.
We’re looking at a person with a high waist circumference and a lot more muscle, but they’re still at risk of being obese,” she said.
There are also many people with an unhealthy weight and low BMI who may not have an issue with exercising.
“The people that you see with high BMI and high fat masses and who are going to be overweight, they’re not exercising,” Dr Hogg said.
‘Low-calorie foods are not healthy’ Dr Langes research has found that those who are overweight, or who have a BMI above 25 but a low BMIs, are often advised to consume low calorie foods such as white bread, fruit and vegetables.
This advice is often followed by people with very high BMIs and a BMI around 30, which means they are more likely than those who don’t have high BMI and a slim BMI to consume high fat foods, such as chocolate and sugary snacks.
However Dr Lager said that the evidence does not support the recommendation of low calorie food choices.
“I think we have to be very clear that low calorie and low fat foods are very unhealthy and that there’s no evidence that they are healthy,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“People with obesity need to eat more nutritious foods, they need to avoid sugars, they should be able to exercise, and eat lots of healthy fats and healthy protein.”
‘People are too busy’ Dr Prindell said the stigma that people with obesity face has to do with a lack of social acceptance.
“One of the most interesting findings is that people are not necessarily aware that obesity is a health issue,” he said.
This is because many people feel stigmatised and are afraid to admit that they have the condition, he said, but the evidence shows that there are a range of health benefits that can be obtained from reducing or eliminating unhealthy food choices, such a as reducing saturated fat intake and reducing sugar consumption.
“They are a lot healthier and they can