New Day in Toronto

Less Blame and Shame in Canada?

French-Speaking Canadians View Obesity as a Community ProblemCould it be that Canada is on its way to finding a less stigmatized path for addressing obesity? At the Fourth Canadian Obesity Summit, they are certainly working on it. New data presented here suggest that Canadians, especially French-speaking Canadians, may be ready for it.

ConscienHealth founder Ted Kyle and colleagues studied how the public and healthcare professionals view the problem of obesity in Canada and the U.S. They also looked a differences between French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians.

The most common view of obesity among the U.S. public is that obesity is a personal problem of bad choices. But among Canadians — especially French-speaking Canadians — the most common view is that it is a community problem of shared risk. This is important because prior research has shown that when people understand obesity as a problem of shared risks, they are more open to evidence-based solutions for obesity and less prone to express bias against people with obesity.

Throughout the meeting, public engagement and involvement of people living with obesity has been something of a theme — and a refreshing one at that. People living with obesity have participated in plenary sessions on weight bias, health policy, and public engagement.

This is an encouraging development indeed. In HIV and other serious chronic diseases, important meetings on policy and research will always include people living with the disease.

It’s a perspective that’s past due for addressing obesity.

Click here for the slides from Kyle’s presentation and here to hear the perspective of one person living with obesity who is participating in the meeting.

New Day in Toronto, photograph © Ted Kyle

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4 Responses to “Less Blame and Shame in Canada?”

  1. May 01, 2015 at 6:50 am, Bill Bogart said:


    Please send me the slides. Can’t seem to access them

    So sorry I missed this. Important and interesting



    • May 01, 2015 at 2:41 pm, Ted said:

      Thanks, Bill. Your presentation was a real highlight yesterday and gave me much to think about.

      I’ve fixed the link and sent you the slides.

  2. May 01, 2015 at 7:31 am, Leah Whigham said:

    Nice work, Ted et al. I would like to see the slides, but the link isn’t working.

    • May 01, 2015 at 2:40 pm, Ted said:

      Thanks, Leah. I’ll email you the slides and I’ve fixed the broken link. Thanks for letting me know.