OCW2022 I Care Video

OCW2022: Why We Care About Obesity Care

As we come to the end of OCW2022, we come to face a basic question: why does it matter? Why do we care about obesity care? The answer is quite simple, really. Science tells us that obesity is a complex, chronic condition driven by our physiology. Yet our culture and even our healthcare systems do more to shame people for this disease than to help them deal with it. They make it worse.

A new video release for Obesity Care Week helps to make this clear. Health systems dole out harsh experiences like this one in a seemingly endless loop:

“I just hung up the phone with a teacher who has a plan exclusion for bariatric surgery. She has reflux so bad she can’t work. I think everyone should have access to care for medical or surgical treatments to improve their health.”

All too often, the system leaves people to suffer while the complications of untreated obesity to accumulate. The economic cost is staggering. But the cost in terms of human suffering is incalculable.

Caring Makes All the Difference

Quite literally we’ve spent decades listening to the lived experiences of people with obesity. Humiliation and self-stigma are unmistakable themes in what we hear. So when people finally reach someone who can provide care for obesity, one of the key needs is simply for validation, as obesity medicine physician Jennifer Kirby describes:

Not for a minute can we understand why this should be. Health systems and health providers should be dedicated to making people better, not driving them down into a pit. Just because our culture has long done it this way doesn’t make it OK.

We care about obesity care because it is the only decent and right thing to do. Because after OCW2022, the real test will be to see if we can all do better to care enough to reduce the harm that obesity causes to so many people.

Find the I Care video for OCW2022 here and more on the lived experience of obesity here.

I Care Video, Obesity Care Week 2022

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March 5, 2022