Is labeling obesity as a disease counterproductive to the psyche of the patient?
Is labeling obesity as a disease counterproductive to the psyche of the patient? (Stock Free Images)

Labeling obesity a disease may actually be counterproductive and not in the best interest of individuals who struggle with weight, according to new research published in the journal Psychological Science.

The findings suggest obese individuals who buy into such labeling place less importance on health-focused dieting and are less concerned about weight, which may in fact make them less likely to take steps to address the problem.

“Considering that obesity is a crucial public health issue, a more nuanced understanding of the impact of an ‘obesity is a disease’ message has significant implications for patient-level and policy-level outcomes,” says psychological scientist Crystal Hoyt, of the University of Richmond, who helped lead the research, which was prompted by the American Medical Association declaring obesity a disease in June 2013.

“Experts have been debating the merits of, and problems with, the AMA policy," she says. "Te wanted to contribute to the conversation by bringing data rather than speculation and by focusing on the psychological repercussions.”

For the study, Hoyt and colleagues recruited more than 700 individuals to take part in an online survey after reading an article related to health and weight. Some participants read an article that described obesity as a disease, some read a standard public health message about weight, and others read an article specifically stating that obesity is not a disease.

Researchers also tracked the height and weight of the participants and classified them as “average weight” or “obese,” in line with World Health Organization guidelines.

The results showed that the particular message obese participants read had a clear impact on their attitudes toward health, diet and weight, as well as their behaviors. Obese participants who read the “obesity is a disease” article placed less importance on health-focused dieting and reported less concern for weight, compared to those who read the other two articles. They also chose higher-calorie options when asked to pick a sandwich from a provided menu.

“Together, these findings suggest that the messages individuals hear about the nature of obesity have self-regulatory consequences,” Hoyt says.

“In our ongoing work, we hope to gain a greater understanding of how the ‘obesity is a disease’ message influences beliefs about the controllability of weight. In addition, we are also interested in investigating the role of this message in reducing stigma against the obese,” she says.

For the original article, visit healthmax.com.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Did you enjoy this health article? Click here to receive new health articles by email.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit