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Why the War on Obesity Needs a Makeover

October 3, 2012 |

Last week the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation predicted that obesity rates will climb to over 44 percent for every state by 2030 — with some states, such as Mississippi, over 60 percent!

This, along with other news, got me thinking about the obesity epidemic and the war America has waged. I believe focusing solely on obesity is making matters worse, and we can all benefit from revamping how we approach this issue. So here is my wish list for addressing our nation’s epidemic (and most importantly, why):

Education instead of stigmatization: Obesity is probably the most well known, but misunderstood, diseases out there. Waging a war on obesity has had negative side effects.

According to a 2008 study published in Obesity from 1995 to 2005, weight discrimination almost doubled in the U.S. Worse yet, a 2007 study found that overweight children are increasingly being stigmatized by their peers, teachers and parents, from ages as early as 3!

“There’s a common perception that stigma will provide incentive,” says Dr. Rebecca Puhl, director of research and weight stigma initiatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University. “People need to understand that when individuals are shamed, it can reinforce weight gain.”

Puhl explains that we need to change the message to better reflect the complex causes of obesity instead of something that is seen as easily changeable. She points out that “telling people to lose weight is not a tangible behavior.” But many believe that they should be able to magically turn thin, even though science shows this is no easy feat.

Read the full original article at

Source:  by  Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD for WebMD, September 27, 2012 at

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