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Canvas Network

Behind the Scenes: Addressing weight bias and stigma in obesity

Dalhousie University via Canvas Network

This course may be unavailable.


Obesity is a global epidemic and a major contributor to the growing burden of chronic diseases. Preventing and managing obesity is well recognized to be a complex and difficult undertaking in large part due to the multiple influences on weight management. The management of obesity has primarily focused on individual behaviour with little attention to social, cultural and environmental influences.

A person’s weight is a sensitive topic to address, especially in the Western world, and individuals living with obesity are often marginalized, highly stigmatized in society and personally blamed for their condition, by both the health professionals they seek support from and the broader public.

This course will provide an overview of the causes and consequences of obesity, with a focus on promoting a balanced understanding of the complex factors that have led to a rise in obesity rates globally and their implications for obesity management and prevention. As participants move through the content, they will be challenged to reflect on their own attitudes towards obesity and to critically appraise how these are shaped by broader societal attitudes. After completing the course, participants will have gained an appreciation of the causes and consequences of obesity and better insight into how to approach individuals experiencing obesity in a respectful and non-judgmental manner. Participants who wish to complete the course requirements can register for a citation of completion for a nominal fee. 


Module 1: Course introduction and exploring our own biases

Module 2: Understanding obesity as a complex health and societal issue.

Module 3: Weight bias and stigma, what it is and where it comes from?

Module 4: How do we address weight bias and stigma?

Module 5: Bringing it all together in best practices.

Taught by

Sara Kirk, PhD


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