other obesity solutions projects



Studies have suggested that people undergoing clinical treatments for obesity do not like the term "obesity." We still do not know with exactitude why individuals prefer certain terms over others. For our study, we recruited university students to assess the desirability of 21 weight-related terms when: (1) the terms were used by a doctor to describe the participants' weight; (2) the terms were used by the participant to describe somebody else's weight; and (3) the term was used by a friend to describe the participant's own weight. The stigma around obesity is transmitted in everyday language, thus, knowing what terms are preferred by participants is extremely important. Using the wrong terminology could potentially hinder weight loss efforts and lead to stigmatizing results. 



Rates of obesity and overweight are ballooning globally: the World Health Organization recently estimated 1 in 3 adults to be overweight, and the rates are rising especially fast in many developing nations. In many developed countries, including the U.S., the rate is closer to 2 in 3 adults being overweight or obese. Despite now being the most common body type in many places, there is also evidence that the stigma related to obesity is in fact growing. This stigma can be profound and powerful, undermining mental health and overall life chances, as well as weight loss efforts.
Small World / Big Bodies is a multi-year and multi-sited project using tools from anthropology, human biology, and psychology to understand how and why attitudes toward overweight and obese bodies are changing globally in the contexts of both the obesity “epidemic” and an increasingly globalized world. We are especially interested in understanding how and why negative attitudes to obesity are spreading so rapidly, but also why this stigma appears so much more damaging in some places than others. 
Led by ASU’s School of Nutrition and Health Promotion (SNHP) in partnership with Arizona schools, this project seeks to create outstanding models for nutrition education. Harnessing the incredible energy of ASU’s outstanding undergraduates as partners, ASU Nutrition majors work as interns in schools, and partner with SNAP faculty in the iterative improvement of nutrition education in youth across diverse communities in Maricopa county.  For information about this project contact Michelle Cauwels.