Obesity Care Week: Five Enduring Principles

Still Live Vase with Five SunflowersOn this, the second day of Obesity Care Week, let’s step back from all the complexity of obesity and focus on five simple principles that hold great promise for improving the way we care for people with this disease. It really doesn’t have to be so hard.

1. It Is Undeniable That
Obesity Is a Chronic Disease

If you remember nothing else, this is the one. Obesity is not a lifestyle or an identity. Nor is it merely a risk factor for other diseases or a cosmetic problem that can be diagnosed at a glance. It is a complex, chronic disease and all by itself, it harms health and quality of life for a billion people worldwide. For more than 100 million people in the U.S. The sooner all of us start treating obesity just as we would any other disease, the sooner we will make progress in overcoming it.

2. Obesity Is Driven by Powerful Underlying Biology, Not Choice

A child who was born with physiology that makes them susceptible to obesity from the earliest days of their lives does not have obesity because of bad choices. They do not need to be “educated” to stop having obesity. Nor is any of this true for a woman whose physiology changes with pregnancy or menopause. Or a man who starts gaining weight as his physiology changes as he ages. This is biology interacting with an environment that promotes obesity.

3. The Many Health Effects of Obesity Can Start Early

A child with physiology that drives their body to accumulate excess or abnormal fat tissue will not simply grow out of it. Far more often than not, obesity will progress and lead to other complications without treatment. Denying a child with obesity care for their medical condition until they become a young adult with obesity puts them at risk for a shorter, unhealthier life.

4. Obesity Is Treatable

Obesity treatment holds the potential to improve a person’s health and quality of life if it starts with a sound medical understanding of the disease. Do-it-yourself weight loss is not an adequate substitute for medical obesity care, though self-care is an important part of the process. Obesity care is about gaining health, not just losing weight.

5. Weight Bias, Stigma, and Discrimination Are Harmful

Decisions about seeking care for obesity are intensely personal. But the bias, stigma, and discrimination that communities all over the world impose upon a person living with obesity are public concerns that we all can work to eliminate. It has no place in a caring community.

Check Your Bias at the Door

If any of these five principles are hard for you to embrace, ask yourself why and seek a deeper understanding. Get curious about obesity and help others embrace these five simple principles for Obesity Care Week and beyond. We will all be better because of the effort you make.

Take the pledge here and do your part.

Still Live Vase with Five Sunflowers, painting by Vincent van Gogh / WikiArt

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March 5, 2024

One Response to “Obesity Care Week: Five Enduring Principles”

  1. March 05, 2024 at 11:23 pm, Allen Browne said: