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Scott Kahan Part 6, Weight Bias and Stigma

In part 6, the conclusion of this Exclusive Interview, Dr. Scott Kahan talks with Diabetes in Control Associate Medical Editor Joy Pape during the AACE 2018 convention in Boston, MA about the stigma and impact of having excess weight.

Scott Kahan, MD, MPH is the Director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington, D.C.


Transcript of this video segment:

Pape: So, that really opens up with both of us being so passionate about the topic of preventing and fighting weight bias and stigma. What is that and can you give some tips on that?

Kahan: Yes, so weight is an incredibly stigmatized condition in our society, and throughout most of the world. We all know this from seeing the heavy kid in the schoolyard being teased and shamed, and unfortunately, it’s much more pervasive than just that. It happens in work places, in the healthcare system, and throughout society at large. On top of that, we have a lot of research now showing that not only is weight stigma not nice, but it leads to a range of poor health outcomes. Of course it leads to poor mental health outcomes, things like the propensity towards depression or binge eating or the like, but it also leads to poor physical health outcomes. People who experience weight stigma have a higher likelihood of metabolic syndrome, higher cholesterol, diabetes, and at least one study shows that people who experience weight stigma have a higher likelihood of premature mortality believe it or not. On top of that still, people who experience weight stigma tend to gain more weight and that is a misconception that people really don’t realize. A lot of people sometimes think they’re doing good by stigmatizing towards someone because they think it’s going to motivate them to lose weight but the research shows the exact opposite – it’s going to make things worse. So, it’s an important area to address. Frankly, I think it’s every bit as important as addressing obesity itself, as in the physical aspects of obesity. So that is something that I spend a lot of time speaking on and working with doctors on.

Pape: So, there is an organization that both you and I are involved in and have a lot of respect for and that is the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC). And so, we will tell our members about that. We thank you for joining our board and hopefully through Diabetes In Control, we can get the word more out on what we are talking about today.

Kahan: Absolutely.

Pape: Thank you so much for your work – so many people need it and can be helped.

Kahan: Thanks, Joy.

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