‘Thanks for reinforcing the cultural belief that how you look is all that matters,’ one reader tweets
An article claiming that Americans are trying to lose weight to achieve the perfect “office bod” as workplaces begin to reopen has come under criticism, with some on social media rejecting the notion of an acceptable workplace weight.
In the article by Bloomberg, titled: “US Workers Try to Lose Weight Before Returning to the Office”, and published this week, the author states that Americans “who soothed themselves with calorie-laden comfort foods are frantically trying to slim down for the perfect office bod”.
According to the article, the trend is evidenced through a recent increase in gym memberships, personal training sessions and Weight Watchers membership sign ups, with the author noting that it comes after the American Psychology Association’s annual stress survey found that 42 per cent of the population gained “unwanted weight” during the pandemic.
The article also references obesity rates in the US, highlighting a study by the American College of Sports Medicine which found that, “even before Covid-19, almost a third of residents on average in the 100 largest US cities had obesity”, while it also including comments from individuals who have gained weight amid the pandemic.
One man, a 41-year-old banking chief operating officer, told the outlet that his goal is to “be back where I was prior to the pandemic”.
However, on Twitter, where the article was shared by Bloomberg Businessweek’s account, it has mostly sparked negative reactions.
“This is gross and steeped in fat-phobia. After a terrible year, the last thing people need is to stress about their wonderful, strong bodies that got them through the *still occurring* pandemic,” one person tweeted.
Another wrote: “Excuse me, but what the f***. There is no such thing as a ‘perfect office body.’ Do you have a body? Is it currently in an office? Ok, that is an office body. Moving on…”
“Wow, this seems really toxic,” someone else said.
The controversial article also prompted jokes and sarcastic responses among readers, with one person writing: “Don’t want Debby in accounting thinking I’m some sorta disheveled slob who can’t sit for eight hours straight.”
Another reader tweeted that they too were “getting into shape to stay hunched over my computer all day”.
“Rule: if you survived a deadly pandemic, that’s your ‘office bod,’” someone else concluded.
The Independent has contacted Bloomberg for comment.