Society has long ignored the scientific causes of obesity and formed their perceptions based on personal attitudes. There are a number of factors that have been identified that contribute to the epidemic of obesity. Unfortunately, there continues to be a public perception of obesity being a “personality” disorder. Quite frequently patients are told “…just eat right and exercise, and everything will be fine.” We all know that is not the case. One of the poster presentations during the 2016 Obesity Week was on the subject of causes and perception of obesity. This topic is always an important talking point at these meetings and there seems to be some changes in viewpoint of the general population.
This was a large study conducted over a long time frame with a relatively decent population size.
The study showed a slow but steady improvement in the perception by the general population in recognizing the multifactorial nature of obesity with less personal blame on the patient. The pace of change in perception has been positive, however, there is a still large gap for improvement. There is hope for the future of a correlation of causes and perceptions of obesity.
We, as a healthcare providers and society, are making improvements in educating, awareness, and perception of obesity but we still have work to do. In this changing healthcare environment, we can not let these gains in perception slip back to old patterns and biases. We need to maintain our diligence, education and our forward thinking to continue the positive and factual perception of obesity.