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Nothing About Us Without Us

Props to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Obesity Solutions Roundtable for honoring the principle of “nothing about us without us” yesterday. While much obesity policy is made without input from people directly affected, the IOM Roundtable devoted the entire day Tuesday to considering severe obesity, weight bias, and the impact upon people affected.

Maria Caprigno and Patricia Nece presented to this group of leaders from nonprofits and industry on their own experiences in living with and addressing obesity. Caprigno, recipient of the OAC Thompson Award for Advocacy, spoke eloquently about her experiences with bias and discrimination at a private school and contrasted that experience with the more respectful treatment she found when she transferred to a public school. “I’m not sorry that I have had a very different experience in growing up,” said Caprigno. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn how wonderfully loving and supportive that my best friends and educators can be.”

Nece opened the eyes of Roundtable members when she described the constant stream of uninvited judgments offered by strangers. Gaining skills for coping with such experiences has been one of the key benefits of finding excellent care from an obesity medicine clinic, she told the group.

Impacts of BiasRebecca Puhl provided the group with an overview of the extent and effects of weight bias. Ted Kyle delivered an analysis of how weight bias impacts policymaking. Scott Kahan organized a review of both medical and surgical management of severe obesity by top experts: John Morton, Tom Inge, and Ihuoma Eneli.

The IOM established the Roundtable this year to engage leadership from multiple sectors — industry, government, and nonprofits — in solving the problems caused by obesity.

Click here for more information on the Roundtable and here for Kyle’s slides on the policy impact of weight bias.

Empathy, photograph © schaaflicht / flickr

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