World Obesity Day is observed globally on 11 October with the view of promoting practical solutions to end the global obesity crisis.
Dr. Harshada Rajadhyaksha shares her view on this occasion.
End Weight Stigma
When you meet a person for the first time, what is the first thought that comes to mind?
Do you notice their colour, race, clothes, religion, profession, economic status? Their personality? Do you notice their size?
We are taught that first impressions count. But first impressions are only a quick judgement, aren’t they?
Haven’t we all, at some time in life, made a quick judgement, and then changed our hastily-made opinions about people we know?
Can we look at people without forming opinions? Because, whether we voice these opinions or not, by just having them, we own them.
World Obesity Day this year, has the theme “End Weight Stigma”.
“Stigma”: A disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, or a quality, or even a person.
Just like people are of different colour and height; have different backgrounds, languages, and beliefs; they also have different sizes and weight.
If weight does not negatively affect health, there is no reason to notice it. It has no meaning whatsoever in the interaction you will have with the person.
“Obesity” on the other hand, is a disease that afflicts a section of society; just like “Arthritis” is a disease that afflicts a section of society. A person is not obese, a person suffers from Obesity; just like a person suffers from Arthritis.
Obesity is also a result of our collective choices: The lifestyle choices we made when we chose industrialization and urbanization over manual labour and foraging. The choices we make daily when we choose to use our devices of convenience, and eat our artificial foods.
Our species chose to live, eat, and work this way. We are collectively, genetically going to evolve and live with the diseases we inherit.
Yes, I did say “inherit”. Research shows that we are all linked by genetics more closely than we earlier thought. This means that the lifestyle choices our species made over the last few decades have probably affected the genes we inherited and will pass down.
I believe obesity is one of these genetically passed-down diseases. Do not judge a person who suffers from obesity. Each one of us will suffer from a lifestyle related disease at some point in our life; some of these diseases are visible, others are not. Obesity is visible, Arthritis is often invisible.
Let us take the away the stigma and come up with compassionate and practical solutions for those who suffer from Obesity. Let us accept that Obesity is a disease, and look at ways to prevent it. Let us admit that we need to return to more natural food and work choices so that the future generations do not have to deal with an endemic crisis.
#PrakrutiSSPC #stormoutthestigma #acceptthefacts #letsfightitout #Togetherwecanmovemountains!