Rethinking Healthy Eating And Obesity

OPHANRCThis morning, I am presenting a talk at a workshop hosted by the Ontario Public Health Association’s Nutrition Resource Centre here at the 4th Canadian Obesity Summit in Toronto.

As the organisers of the symposium point out,

Messages from the media, industry, and even some health professionals and public health campaigns often convey the idea that obesity can be prevented by simply eating less, eating better, and moving more. This reinforces the idea that obesity is a matter of lifestyle choices and personal responsibility. However, is obesity prevention really that simple? What about the role of the food environment and social determinants of health? Are current messages about obesity actually effective? Is it as easy as “eat less, eat better”?”

This one-day forum, brings together Canadian health promotion and nutrition professionals to explore the answers to these timely questions.  Through (hopefully) thought-provoking presentations and engagement with leading experts, participants will be challenged to critically rethink conventional approaches to healthy eating and obesity messaging.

Indeed, the fact that many working in public health and obesity prevention are revisiting the often-heard messaging about simply eating less and moving more as a means of achieving a “healthy” weight, is a big step forward in perhaps coming closer to finding an effective communication and messaging strategy about obesity that does not inadvertently promote simplistic notions about obesity that do little else than reinforce and propagate weight bias.

I congratulate the OPHA’s Nutrition Resource Centre for taking on this challenge and opening, what I am sure will be a most fruitful dialogue, that will eventually change both the perception of what obesity actually is and lead to solutions that both incorporate our latest understanding of this complex chronic disease and do so without unintended harm to those living with this condition.

Toronto, ON