Abbie Trayler-Smith

The Big O

“The rates of childhood obesity in Wales (36%) are the highest in the UK” – National Assembly of Wales, January 2012.

The stigma that surrounds and engulfs obesity has meant my fat teenage years have remained buried, gnawing away at me, and leaving me with unanswered questions and uncomfortable feelings. Why did I get fat? How did it happen? And in truth what effect has it had on my life?

The psychological effects of being fat in a society that values thinness above all else, concern me as much as the obvious related health problems. Obesity has taken over from cancer as the thing to fear, with its stigma and discrimination following the overweight from the schoolyard to the workplace and beyond.

My aim with this work is for it to be an intimate and personal portrait of the children behind these dramatic statistics: to show how complicated and nuanced the subject of childhood obesity is and to tap into the wider youthful experiences of insecurity that so many of us (fat or not) wen through with our own bodies and self-image during those formative teenage years.