Obesity Attitudes and Behaviors

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Obesity Attitudes and Behaviors

The mindset of obese Americans has been heavily influenced by society, medical personnel, and their immediate communities. Hateful words have victimized individuals, creating a sense of low self-worth. Obese Americans blame themselves for their condition and are therefore not keen to plan for doctor follow-up appointments. Despite all these factors, there are some platforms that allow people to share their stories and be encouraged. There are also some organizations that attempt to hold institutions and leaders to a higher standard demanding that they observe the rights of those suffering from this disease. 

MINDSET OF OBESE AMERICANS

WHAT THEY BELIEVE - ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS

Society, medical experts, and their immediate community heavily influence the mindset of obese Americans. 68% believe that others judge them for their weight as one in every three believe they lack the support system they need. Even though 75% are concerned about how their weight will affect their lives in the long run, 60% believe diet plans fail, and that life is too short to watch what you eat.

Americans suffering from obesity suffer from depression, with the two feeding off each other. Women are more prone to the obesity-depression cycle. For those who experience stress, the cycle is stronger. Stress can cause a change in activity patterns and a shift in habits. This usually involves eating unhealthy, which can create a habit hard to overcome later on. This habit causes further depression, which results in more stress and binge eating, creating a vicious cycle hard to break. Research shows that 51% of people with binge eating habits have a history of depression. Bad experiences such as teasing about physical appearance can cause binge-eating and depression.

SEEKING TREATMENT

In seeking medical attention for this condition, statistics show that although four out of five believe that they need to hear from their doctor to make a change, only one out of five have reached out to one. In fact, one out of four has decided not to see a doctor until they lose some weight. Americans overestimate the impact of these two obesity treatments: diet and exercise.

It is clear to 65% of obese Americans that their condition is a disease, although only 54% worry about how it will affect their quality of life as they grow older. This is clear as they are poor at following through with treatment. Statistics show that out of the 71% of those who addressed their weight issue with their healthcare provider, 55% were diagnosed with obesity and only 24% scheduled a follow-up appointment. In part, they can attribute it to the emotional and psychological stress that these people have to endure in this condition.

Another external aspect that heavily affects the mindset of obese Americans is how HCPs (healthcare personnel) handle patients suffering from this condition. HCP constantly give excuses for not addressing this condition: lack of time: 52%, not a priority topic: 45%, the HCP observes a patient’s lack of motivation: 27% or interest: 26%. They have influenced patients to think they are the ones responsible for their condition; an idea enhanced by HCP and medical leaders, hence inadequate treatment options for the disease. Patients face constant victimization from healthcare providers and society. 82% of patients blame themselves for their own weight and consider themselves responsible to change that, and would therefore not feel the need to seek medical help. Children who are obese fall victim to cyber bullying. They grow up lacking confidence and conceal themselves behind large, casual clothing. There is also a slow sense of initiative in assigned tasks.

SUPPORT GROUPS

The community of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) addresses the treatment that people suffering from obesity endure and how this can be mitigated. They seek to influence various institutions and society at large. It addresses the employer, demanding a provision for healthcare insurance on the same.

The Weight of the World is a platform that allows people to share their personal story to be a source of encouragement to one another. They established it to address the stigma and bias that comes with obesity.
Sources
Sources

Quotes
  • "65 percent of people with obesity (PwO) recognized obesity as a disease, but only 54 percent worried their weight may affect future health. Only 17 percent of PwO viewed employer-sponsored wellness initiatives as helpful in supporting weight loss. "
  • "18 percent of employer representatives feel responsible for contributing to weight-loss efforts. Among PwO, 71 percent had discussed their weight with a healthcare provider within the last five years, 55 percent reported having been diagnosed with obesity and 24 percent had scheduled a follow-up appointment related to weight."
  • "82 percent of PwO felt “completely” responsible for their own weight loss, which the study authors identified as a reason they may not seek help from doctors. Two-thirds of HCPs felt “very comfortable” or “extremely comfortable” initiating discussions about weight loss with patients, while one-third reported being “somewhat comfortable” or “a little comfortable” doing so. "
  • "Similarly, 67 percent of HCPs said they typically initiated weight-loss management discussions, while the other 33 percent waited for patients to broach the topic. Commonly cited reasons for HCPs not initiating discussions included lack of time (52 percent), more important concerns/issues to discuss (45 percent) and the belief that the patient wasn’t motivated or interested in losing weight (27 percent and 26 percent, respectively)."
Quotes
  • "The emotional costs are incalculable. I have never written a story where so many of my sources cried during interviews, where they double- and triple-checked that I would not reveal their names, where they shook with anger describing their interactions with doctors and strangers and their own families."
  • "“The bigger way my weight affected my life was that I waited to do things because I thought fat people couldn’t do them.” She got her master’s degree at 38, her Ph.D. at 55. “I avoided so many activities where I thought my weight would discredit me.”"
  • "“As a kid, I thought that fat people were just lonely and sad—almost like these pathetic lost causes. So I want to show that we get to experience love, too. I’m not some 'fat friend' or some dude's chubby chasing dream. I'm genuinely happy. I just wish I'd known how possible that was when I was a kiddo.”— CORISSA ENNEKING"
Quotes
  • "Patients hold responsibility for their actions, but providers’ approaches to address obesity often fall short as well."
  • "In these responses, health care providers and leaders seem to be pointing a finger at their patients. Is that fair?”"
Quotes
  • "Nearly all Americans (94%) agree that obesity itself, even when no other diseases are present, increases the risk for early death. Most Americans overestimate the effectiveness of some obesity treatments, such as diet and exercise alone. Many overweight and obese Americans do not consult a doctor at all about their issues of excess weight."
Quotes
  • "The current study drew upon data from over 43,000 youth attending 107 middle and high schools. Multilevel results suggested that compared with normal weight youth, both overweight and obese youth were at an increased risk for experiencing relational, verbal, and cyber victimization, with only obese youth being at an increased risk for experiencing physical victimization. "
  • "Notably, the odds for experiencing cyber victimization were higher than the odds for experiencing other forms of victimization. Frequently victimized obese youth, but not frequently victimized overweight youth, had significantly higher levels of internalizing symptoms compared to their frequently victimized, normal-weight peers. "
  • "Together, these findings highlight the increased risk for psychosocial adjustment problems among frequently victimized overweight and obese youth, suggesting these youth may require preventive interventions tailored to meet their unique needs."
Quotes
  • "Obesity is also frequently accompanied by depression and the two can trigger and influence each other. Although women are slightly more at risk for having an unhealthy BMI than men, they are much more vulnerable to the obesity-depression cycle. In one study, obesity in women was associated with a 37 percent increase in major depression. There is also a strong relationship between women with a high BMI and more frequent thoughts of suicide."
  • "Depression can both cause and result from stress, which, in turn, may cause you to change your eating and activity habits. Many people who have difficulty recovering from sudden or emotionally draining events unknowingly begin eating too much of the wrong foods or forgoing exercise. Before long, these become habits and difficult to change."
  • "A study of obese people with binge eating problems found that 51 percent also had a history of major depression. Additional research shows that obese women with binge-eating disorder who experienced teasing about their appearance later developed body dissatisfaction and depression."
Quotes
  • "Obesity is a complex chronic disease that requires serious action, access to science-based treatment and comprehensive obesity care to improve quality of health and life Obesity is not a matter of personal choice, and while there is an element of personal responsibility involved in any individual’s health journey, there are many factors that lead to obesity that are not within the control of the individual."
  • "Individuals with obesity should be treated with dignity and respect and should not face any type of bias or discrimination based on their size and/or health status."
  • "The focus of an individual’s weight management journey should be to improve their health and quality of life for both short-term and long-term benefit. Prevention and treatment are not the same. While prevention is important, we should not neglect the equal importance of obesity treatment and management in an individual’s journey to improved health."
Quotes
  • "We all have a story. Our stories are complex, they all include different experiences, feelings, and most of all, they show the complexity of who we are as a person. The Weight of the World was created because we realized no matter your background, personal experiences, values or any other factors that make us unique, when dealing with obesity and weight we all share a common thread that connects us all. "
  • "By creating this platform for story sharing, we hope to show you the power of your own voice. Hearing and sharing unique stories frees us from the concept that we should be ashamed of what we’ve experienced when dealing with obesity because many of us have experienced many of the same events and all of these encounters have shaped us to be the person we are today."