Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Being Fat In Today's World Invites Social Discrimination, Study Suggests

Date:
June 17, 2008
Source:
The Endocrine Society
Summary:
Obese people feel "a culture of blame" against them, which they say has been made worse by media reports about the health risks of obesity.

Obese people feel "a culture of blame" against them, which they say has been made worse by media reports about the health risks of obesity, a new study from Australia found.

Researchers at Monash University in Melbourne conducted one-hour personal interviews with 76 obese individuals (62 females, 14 males), ranging in age from 16 to 72 years. The aim of the study was to better address issues of concern to obese people, in an attempt to improve interventions for the increasing epidemic of obesity, said the lead author, Paul Komesaroff, MD, PhD, director of the university's Centre for Ethics in Medicine and Society.

The authors found that the messages from media and health care professionals to engage in healthy behaviors, such as physical activity and eating healthier, may actually be doing more harm than good, Komesaroff said.

"Obese people frequently feel overwhelmed and disheartened by the publicity about their condition," he said. "They often feel disrespected and not understood by medical practitioners. Our participants express the view very forcefully that they feel victimized by current social attitudes about obesity. To be told that, in addition to the problems that they recognize only too well, they are now regarded as 'sick' is unlikely to assist them to find a solution."

Study participants said they find it difficult to act on the health messages about obesity, he said. Most participants reported that they had tried weight loss remedies that their physician recommended and were generally dissatisfied with the help doctors provide.

Health care providers' efforts to convince overweight patients to lose weight are largely unsuccessful, Komesaroff believes, possibly because they do not understand the key issues that obese people face.

"The experience of being obese is often painful," he said. "Many obese people have major social and psychological issues that doctors and public health policies [often] do not address."

Nearly 50 percent of the participants (37 of 76) described poor mental and emotional health, including depression, related to their overweight, study data showed. Nearly all (72 of 76) said they experienced humiliation and discrimination regarding their weight, either in childhood or as adults. Twenty participants--more than 25 percent--regularly tried to lose weight quickly by going without eating anything for periods--essentially "starving" themselves.

"Our preliminary results indicate that health care providers should do a more thorough assessment of the needs of individual obese patients based on a sympathetic and nonjudgmental appreciation of their problems," Komesaroff said. "Responses may include the setting of reasonable targets with respect to disease risk factors and a closer attention to social and psychological issues."

For practices and policies on the prevention and treatment of obesity to be effective, he believes it will be necessary to include obese people in the development process.

The results will be presented Tuesday, June 17, at The Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Endocrine Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Endocrine Society. "Being Fat In Today's World Invites Social Discrimination, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080617142916.htm>.
The Endocrine Society. (2008, June 17). Being Fat In Today's World Invites Social Discrimination, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080617142916.htm
The Endocrine Society. "Being Fat In Today's World Invites Social Discrimination, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080617142916.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Cardiac experts are testing a new experimental device designed to eliminate major surgery and still keep the heart on track. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) More than 269 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Many of them will need surgery and radiation, but there’s a new simple way to reconstruct tissue using a patient’s own fat. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood Clots in Kids

Blood Clots in Kids

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Every year, up to 200,000 Americans die from a blood clot that travels to their lungs. You’ve heard about clots in adults, but new research shows kids can get them too. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins