Based on recent research, it appears that consumers at large have misunderstood obesity, on just about every level. (NYTimes.com, 1 November 2016). A study conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago found that three-quarters of respondents believed that obesity stemmed from a lack of willpower, proper diet, and exercise. This point of view conflicts with research that strongly links environmental factors and genetics to excess weight gain.
“It’s frustrating to see doctors and the general public stigmatize patients with obesity. We would never treat patients with alcoholism or any chronic disease this way,” says Dr. Donna Ryan, professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, on the lack of understanding around obesity.
Despite the lack of knowledge and compassion on the matter, consumers are increasingly concerned about excess weight gain. Americans currently rank obesity as one of the largest health risks in the country today, comparable to cancer. It seems that more education is still needed on this growing problem.