Sunday, 3 December 2017

The stigma of obesity

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

Obesity is often viewed as something where people lack the willpower to do the things that they need to avoid in order not to be obese. Where people hold this view then they will be negative about people with obesity and stigmatize them. This does nothing to help people with obesity as this article from the USA by Wu and Berry (2017) titled: 'Impact of weight stigma on physiological and psychological health outcomes for overweight and obese adults: A systematic review' and published in JAN showsThe aim of the study was to: 'summarize the associations between weight stigma and physiological and psychological health for individuals who are overweight or obese'.

According to the authors: '(w)eight stigma can be defined as individuals experiencing verbal or physical abuse secondary to being overweight or obese. Weight stigma has negative consequences for both physiological and psychological health.' The study on which the article is based found 33 other studies to review. Put simply, the results of these studies verify what is known - that stigmatizing people with obesity has 'adverse physiological and psychological outcomes' for people with obesity. In conclusion, the authors say: '(p)roviding regular and accessible weight stigma education to the public and clinical healthcare providers is necessary.'

You can listen to this as a podcast

Reference

Wu, Y.-K. and Berry, D. C. (2017), Impact of weight stigma on physiological and psychological health outcomes for overweight and obese adults: A systematic reviewJ Adv Nurs. doi:10.1111/jan.13511


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