The term Obesity describes higher body weight and is associated with a wide range of health issues including a risk of cardio-metabolic illnesses, and often poor mental health.
People who are described as obese often experience a high degree of stigma and discrimination, which can lead to lower educational attainment and fewer social and employment opportunities.
Those people described as obese, are often stigmatised or discriminated against, this can often manifest in fewer employment and social opportunities as well as compromised learning attainments.
Eating disorders are a huge issue in this country, yet it seems that bulimia or anorexia have a direct association with such psychological issues, whereas those with problems around overeating, tend to be tarred with being just “greedy” or “gluttonous”. This social stigma is very far from the truth, as according to recent studies, one in five people who are described as obese have disordered eating patterns.
Georgina, a long time member of overeaters anonymous, a step group based on the principles of AA, says “If you are addicted to substances such as drugs or alcohol, you can totally abstain from them, and cut them out of your daily life, as they are not essential to your existence and surplus to requirements. Food however, is an essential biological need and without sustenance our bodies will die. Therefore those of us addicted to food rather than narcotics or liquor, are at a greater disadvantage when trying to find some relief or abstinence from overeating.
According to the NCBI Eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa or anorexia have usually been regarded as a totally separate issue to obesity. Western societies with excessive emphasis on physical looks such as shape, weight and appearance have greater cultural links to eating disorders. In the west, Obesity has traditionally been seen as an illness with genetic or metabolic origins. Therefore obesity always been treated as a medical issue treated by mainstream medicine such as drugs, dietary or surgical treatment.
Now after extensive research into obsessive weight control, ie yoyo dieting and binge eating described as phenotypes, are proving to have a direct link to trigger issues such as negative body image, low self esteem, childhood neglect and abuse, bullying and shared susceptibility genes)
Many treatments are used to help people who are deemed as overweight. Initial treatments have included lifestyle interventions such as diet, exercise are the most commonly used first-line approach and in more complex cases, bariatric surgery or medication.
Such initiatives targeting obesity may increase eating disorder risk factors, yet behavioural or psychological approaches, taking the individuals emotional factors as a prime factor to raising self esteem and reducing body dissatisfaction.
Natasha Devon from the Independent says “Obesity is an eating disorder just like anorexia – and it’s time we started treating it that way”
She says, “Eating disorders are mental illnesses, born out of one or a range of complex emotions – low self-worth, a response to trauma, bullying or abuse, a desire for control, to name but a few…”
Article link: Obesity is an eating disorder
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