"Obesity is one of the most complex, chronic medical conditions and successful treatment often requires the support and care of healthcare professionals. These trends are encouraging because they suggest a shift away from simplistic, biased views that focus on personal blame. The more that people recognize shared risks for obesity, the more likely they are to support evidence-based approaches to reducing obesity's impact." ~Rebecca Puhl, PhD, Deputy Director at Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity speaking on behalf of The Obesity Society.
|Credit: Image courtesy of Obesity Society|
Kyle and his colleagues Diana Thomas, PhD, professor at Montclair State University, and Adam Tsai, MD, an obesity medicine expert at Kaiser Permanente of Colorado, conducted an online survey of a representative sample of 54,111 U.S. adults (POP) and 5,024 healthcare professionals (HCP), who were asked whether they viewed obesity primarily as a personal problem of bad choices, a community problem of bad food and inactivity, or a medical problem. Responses were collected in five different time periods: Feb 2013, Mar 2013, Aug 2013, and May 2014. The HCP sample included registered nurses, physicians, dietitians and nutritionists, and healthcare policy/management professionals. Researchers analyzed how demographic variables (age, gender, income, region, urban density) were associated with the changing views of the public and HCPs.
"Our results show a significant shift in perceptions of obesity in 2014, with the percent of Americans seeing obesity as a community problem increasing as much as 13% and the percent of healthcare professionals increasing 18%," said Kyle. "Surprisingly, the healthcare professionals who view obesity primarily as a medical problem actually decreased between 2013 and 2014. This trend bears watching."
Have you noticed a greater understanding of obesity and less bias in your daily interactions? Have you seen improved effort and understanding from your medical providers?