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Can J Diet Pract Res. 2019 Nov 18:1-5. doi: 10.3148/cjdpr-2019-034. [Epub ahead of print]

Weight Inclusive Practice: Shifting the Focus from Weight to Social Justice.

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Department of Applied Human Nutrition, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS.


Obesity is framed by mainstream media and health care professionals as an "epidemic" contributing to the ill health of the population. This paper reviews literature related to dominant discourses about weight in dietetics, drawing on literature from other health care disciplines, and how these discourses influence patient care. Emerging, competing discourses are also reviewed. Literature highlighted that dietitians and dietetic students are often biased and hold stigmatizing beliefs toward "overweight" and "obese" patients. No research has been conducted in Canada addressing this question, leaving this as an opportunity for future research. Weight stigma and interventions focused on weight have multiple negative implications for individuals, especially those living in larger bodies, including reluctance to seek health care, poor body image, subsequent weight gain, and increased disordered eating. There are alternative discourses emerging, which shift the focus away from weight and toward social justice. The ways in which dietetic students are trained to "manage" weight, and how dominant discourses influence this training, is an important area of future exploration. Dietetic professionals are encouraged to reflect on their weight biases and educate themselves on weight inclusive approaches to health, such as Health at Every Size and Well Now.


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