Few diseases carry the stigma of obesity. Many studies have demonstrated the danger of bias experienced by those with obesity in the overall quality of care received; including delays in preventive screening, which translates to cancers being caught later than they might otherwise be. While broader societal views are slowly shifting and leaning into the complexity of obesity, tremendous bias still exists.
World Obesity Day happened recently and to mark the occasion, Francesco Rubino and colleagues from Kings College London published a joint international consensus statement on ending the stigma of obesity in the latest issue of Nature.
The consensus statement used the scientific Delphi method to review the available evidence on multiple dimensions of weight bias. The executive summary is listed below.
Multiple organizations have acknowledged the negative impacts of weight bias and have taken the pledge outlined below to eliminate weight bias.
The consensus and pledge is a welcome step in highlighting the social justice aspects related to obesity. We need to move beyond the incorrect and overly simplistic framing of obesity as it relates to calories in/out, also known as the law of thermodynamics, to lean into the physiological complexities we see in the constellation of diseases we currently classify under the heading of obesity. Health care professionals should have the lastest clinical training and specialization in obesity medicine if they are going to partner with their patients to address obesity in respectful ways. The inter-generational nature of obesity also means intervening with one individual can also have positive consequences for the whole family and potentially many generations.
Thanks for reading – Trina
(Opinions are my own)
Joint international consensus statement for ending stigma of obesity