Influence for Change in Obesity
Change in obesity policy and the epidemic itself has been painfully slow for decades. But a growing collection of influential voices in social media are working for more positive steps to improve the lives of people with obesity and reduce the impact of this epidemic. ConscienHealth is fortunate to be one of the top 20 influencers identified by Onalytica in their new analysis of the influencers who are shaping how the world views obesity. Commenting on the need for change, ConscienHealth founder Ted Kyle told Onlalytica:
Thirty years of simplistic thinking about obesity has made things worse, not better. Since 1980, it’s grown from affecting 15% to 38% of adults. Most people assume obesity simply results from bad personal choices about diet and exercise. But the truth is much more complex. Scientists, health professionals, and people living with obesity are slowly learning it is a chronic disease that results mostly from genetic susceptibility and community risk factors. Personal choices can make obesity worse or help to address it. But it takes a lot of work, a lot of help, and a little luck to overcome obesity.
We’re in good company. After analyzing more than 700,000 tweets, Onalytica concluded that the voice of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is Twitter’s most influential. Other noteworthy influencers include surgeon Neil Floch, obesity medicine physicians Yoni Freedhof and Arya Sharma, professor Timothy Caulfield, and the Obesity Society.
Change agents are critical for translating research into better health, according to Steven Woolf and colleagues writing in the Annual Review of Public Health. They point out that static websites, email, and listservs are being eclipsed by social media and blogs, “with breathtaking speed.”
After three decades of movement in the wrong direction, change cannot come fast enough, as Sharma explains so well:
Once established, obesity becomes a chronic, often lifelong disease – the only difference from other common chronic diseases is that we are trailing way behind in finding effective treatments and doing a miserable job of delivering the few treatments we do have to the patients who need them the most.
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January 28, 2016