In 2008, the Canadian Obesity Network’s┬á┬áBoard of Directors┬áidentified weight bias and stigma as one of the NetworkÔÇÖs top strategic priority.
The board firmly believes that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity independent of size.
To this end, the Network is working hard┬átowards reducing weight bias and stigma through research, education and action.
The following are just some of the examples resulting from the Network’s many┬ácollaborates with researchers, patients, knowledge users and partners to develop education initiatives and practitioner resources to address weight bias in health care settings, the media and public policies:
- Incorporated weight bias and stigma in all┬áCON-RCO education and knowledge exchange programs┬ásuch as the Canadian Obesity Summits (2009,┬á2011,┬á2013,┬á2015┬áand biennially thereafter); Dietitian Learning Retreats (2010-present);┬áCanadian Obesity Student Meetings┬á(2010, 2012, 2014); Obesity Research Summer School (formerly known as Obesity Research Boot Camp);┬áObesity Management Certificate for Post-Graduates┬á(2013-2015).
- In collaboration with health services and primary care experts, CON-RCO has developed the┬á5As of Obesity Management framework┬áto support primary care practitioners in their interactions with patients with obesity. This was a two-year initiative supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Knowledge Translation Supplement Grant) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (Innovation Strategy Grant). The resources incorporate weight bias sensitivity training and have now been adapted for pediatric and pregnancy populations.
- CON-RCO under the leadership of Dr. Mary Forhan, associate professor,┬áUniversity of Alberta, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Occupational Therapy, coordinated the┬áfirst Canadian Weight Bias and Discrimination Summit┬áin Toronto, Ontario (January 2011). The purpose of the summit was to raise awareness about weight bias and discrimination as it relates to obesity and its association to the health and well being of Canadians.┬á The event drew a capacity crowd of 150 health professionals, students, policy makers, industry representatives, and educators who heard from an expert panel of eight speakers from Canada and the United States.
- CON-RCO partnered with the┬áCanadian Institutes of Health Research┬áto inform a┬áCanadian Bariatric Research Agenda, which included a priority on weight bias and discrimination.
- CON-RCO and the┬áPublic Health Agency of Canada┬ácollaborated to poll CON-RCO members to identify and counteract some of the most┬ácommon obesity myths.┬á Results of this study were published and disseminated to CON members and partners.
- CON-RCO partnered with the┬áRudd Centre for Food Policy and Obesity┬áto develop an┬áimage bank┬áto combat stigmatizing images of people with obesity in the media.
- In 2012, CON-RCO partnered with the World Obesity Federation (formerly known as International Association for the Study on Obesity) to host the first┬áInternational Hot Topic Conference on Obesity and Mental Health. The outcome of this conference was a┬áCharter┬ácalling for action for health system funders, researchers and health practitioners to deal with the stigma associated with both obesity and mental illness.
- In 2015, CON-RCO partnered with the┬áUniversity of Calgary┬áresearch leaders Drs. Angela Alberga, Shelly Russell-Mayhew, Kristin Von Ranson and Lindsay McLaren to participate in a two-day┬áWeight Bias Summit┬á(March 12-13, 2015). The objective of the summit was to bring together stakeholders (researchers, practitioners and policy makers) to discuss and facilitate the design of research projects aimed to reduce weight bias in three sectors (education, health care & public policy) in the province of Alberta.
- In May 2015, CON-RCO established its first┬áPublic Engagement Committee (PEC)┬ácomprised of people living with obesity from across the country. The mandate of the PES Committee is to be the voice of individuals affected by obesity within CON-RCO and to elevate the conversation of obesity and its impact on health in the community.
- In August 2015, CON-RCO established a collaborative called┬áEveryBODY┬áMatters. This group is composed of CON-RCO members working in research, healthcare, education, public engagement and policy. The mandate of this collaborative is to exchange knowledge, identify opportunities for collaboration across research and practice/policy sectors, and support CON-RCOÔÇÖs efforts to reduce weight bias and obesity stigma in Canada.
Not least as a result of these many activities, the Network has seen an impressive increase in weight bias and obesity stigma research in Canada.
Thus, while the first Canadian Obesity Summit (2009) only received a handful of abstracts focused on obesity stigma. CON-RCO began to see a shift at the second (2011) and third (2013) Canadian Obesity Summits with more inclusion of weight bias research in the program.
In 2015, the summit included four plenary presentations on weight bias, three workshops, and ten oral and poster abstract presentations on this topic.
This remarkable shift in research interest in better understanding and addressing weight-bias is reflective of the Network’s considerable efforts to increase awareness of weight bias as well as┬áthe growing body of literature focused in this area.
Clearly, all of this should be of interest to anyone living with obesity, who, unfortunately, continue to suffer the emotional, physical, social, and financial consequences of weight-bias and discrimination.
To learn more about the Network’s continuing efforts to foster greater respect and a better understanding of people living with obesity┬áclick here.
New York, NYC
I am honestly delighted to see that Dr Sharma’s Obesity Notes are┬áin good company among the recently announced┬ábest obesity blogs curated for 2015 by Healthline.
Here is the list of other blogs – they’re all worth checking out:
Obesity Panacea┬áby PhD bloggers Travis Saunders and┬áPeter Janiszewski┬á(both CON bootcampers),┬ácovers topics such as fat bullying and the dangers of being sedentary.┬á
ItÔÇÖs Not About Nutrition┬áby Sociologist and feeding expert Dr. Dina Rose┬áteaches parents how to help their kids make good food choices. She suggests ways to make tasting new foods fun and mealtime a little easier for everyone.
Weighty Matters┬áby Yoni Freedhoff, a Canadian professor and evidence-based nutrition expert (and good friend and colleague), tackles the big issues in a way that makes you feel like youÔÇÖre talking with a friend.
Fooducate┬áreveals the ways in which food companies try to ÔÇ£hookÔÇØ people into buying their products. It also writes about the health risks associated with various ingredients and has the research to back up the claims.
Food Politics┬áby Marion Nestle,┬áis dedicated to tracking the relationship between obesity and the governmentÔÇÖs regulations on food.┬á
The OAC blog┬áfrom the Obesity Action Coalition, as a one-stop shopping depot for information about obesity with topics ranging from how to have a conversation with your child about being overweight to information about bariatric surgery or joining a gym.
Daily Strength┬ágives you the latest on obesity and healthy eating in an easy-to-read list format. Each post is color-coded to help you find exactly what youÔÇÖre looking for.
Hello Healthy┬áis MyFitnessPalÔÇÖs blog with fitness tips, Q&As with staff members, and inspirational stories about real people losing weight.
Obesity Timebomb┬áby┬á┬áÔÇ£fat activistÔÇØ and psychotherapist Dr. Charlotte Cooper,┬álooks at fat performance, fat culture, and obesity research from a human perspective.
300 Pounds Down, chronicles the progress of a mother who once weighed 417 pounds and opted for bariatric surgery.
Escape from Obesity┬áis a┬ádeeply personal blog about one womanÔÇÖs weight loss journey sharing her innermost thoughts about losing weight.
The World According to Eggface┬áby┬áShelly, who had gastric bypass surgery in 2006., share┬áways to cram delicious nutrition into smaller packages. YouÔÇÖll enjoy reading┬áand could very well win one of her regular giveaways.
Childhood Obesity News┬áseeks to inform professionals like doctors, educators, and counselors. ItÔÇÖs also a great site for parents. The kids get a say, too, in a series of profiles about how they feel about their bodies.┬á
Fit to the Finish┬áby spices Diane Carbonell, who lost 158 lbs almost 20 years ago shares ┬ánews on wellness and eating habits with some of her┬árecipes.┬á
Congratulations to all concerned!
A┬ástudy by Paula┬áBrochu and colleagues, published in Health Psychology, suggests that the┬áoften┬áunflattering depiction of people living with obesity in the media (as in the typical images┬áof headless, dishevelled, ill-clothed individuals, usually involved in stereotypical activities -┬áholding a hamburger in one hand and a large pop in the other or pinching their “love handles”),┬ámay well play a role in the lack of public support for policies to address this issue.
The researchers asked┬áparticipants to read an online news story about a policy to deny fertility treatment to obese women that was accompanied by a nonstigmatizing, stigmatizing, or no image of an obese couple. A balanced discussion of the policy was presented, with information both questioning the policy as discriminatory and supporting the policy because of weight-related medical complications.
The findings of the study show that participants who viewed the article accompanied by the nonstigmatizing image were less supportive of the policy to deny obese women fertility treatment and recommended the policy less strongly than participants who viewed the same article accompanied by the stigmatizing image.
Given that negative and stigmatising┬áimages of people with obesity are the rule rather than the exception in media reports about obesity, the authors suggest that simply┬áeliminating stigmatizing media portrayals of obesity may help reduce bias and foster more support for policies to address this problem.
Readers may wish to visit the Canadian Obesity Network’s image bank┬áPicture Perfect At Any Size of non-stigmatizing images of people living with obesity that are available for free download for educational and media purposes.
Today, I would like to introduce you to Sadly The Line-Dancing Owl, who one morning wakes up with a dark cloud over his head.
Learn how Sadly in the end overcomes his sadness and┬áhow he finds the help he needs to be his happy self again.┬á
After tackling immigration and bullying, Linnie turns her attention to depression – in a children’s book that she admits is somewhat autobiographical,
“Depression is REAL and it SUCKS…at least it sucked the living daylight out of me and consumes┬átoo many people I love.”
Along for the ride is┬áthe incredibly talented Ashley O’Mara as the new illustrator. ┬áAshley is a Vancouverite, Emily Carr Graduate, Bird Lover (she draws the cutest darn chickens I’ve ever seen) and like Linnie, knows a thing or two about how much depression hurts.┬á┬á
Please consider supporting Linnie’s fundraising campaign by pre-ordering your personal copy(ies) of Sadly The Line-Dancing Owl, which will again be 100% made in Canada.
To learn more about Sadly and how you can support this venture, please take a minute to visit Linnie’s Indiegogo page.
Today’s post is to announce the arrival of my daughter Linnie von Sky’s second children’s book, “Pom Pom A Flightless Bully Tale“, that hundreds┬áof you helped fund by pre-ordering your copy(ies) about 12 months ago – your books are in the mail and should be there in time for the Holidays (a big THANK YOU from me for your support!).
To those of you, who are new to these pages, Pom Pom is the story of the slightly rotund little penguin┬áPomeroy Paulus Jr III., who simply hates it when people call him “Pom Pom”. ┬áLike any boy his age he’s busy trying to impress ‘the birds’, particularly┬áone bird: Pia. Pomeroy dreams of a pair of orange swim trunks; the ones that Pete, Pucker and Piper own. The same ones Pia said she loved. There’s just one little hiccup. The antAmart doesn’t carry them in his size.
The story tells of how┬ámom helps Pomeroy get his own pair of orange swim trunks and how┬áPia saves the day when she steps up and puts bullies in their place.
Here is what Linnie┬áhad to say about the reason for writing this book in an interview with Lindsay william-Ross for VancityBuzz:
ÔÇ£When you talk about bullying you have to talk about how much it hurts. Kids understand that,ÔÇØ says von Sky, who hopes her stories ignite conversations. Of ÔÇ£Pom Pom,ÔÇØ von Sky remarks: ÔÇ£I think itÔÇÖs an encouragement to talk about emotions. What triggers certain actions, what makes somebody want to hurt someone else. Are they hurting?ÔÇØ
For von Sky, whose protagonist in ÔÇ£Pom PomÔÇØ is picked on because of his size, the pain of bullying in the story echoes the passion she first tapped into working with the Canadian Obesity Network. ÔÇ£Weight bullying happens to be the one thing IÔÇÖm extremely allergic to,ÔÇØ affirms von Sky.
For any of you ┬áwho would like to order your own copy of this┬ádelightful little children’s book about bullying, friendship, respect, sadness, empathy, standing up for friends, antarctica, penguins & above all, love┬á(for ages 3┬áand up) -┬áclick here.