Message from Dr. Norman Rosenblum on World Obesity Day

On October 11th, World Obesity Day will be marked to raise awareness about obesity and to promote effective solutions to overcome what is now considered a chronic disease. This year the theme is Stop Obesity Stigma, which is a form of social stigma that involves negative attitudes, beliefs, and stereotypes targeted at individuals who are perceived to be overweight or obese. For the 5 million Canadian adults living with unhealthy excess weight, this stigma can result in weight bias and discrimination that impacts on all aspects of life, including employment opportunities, social relationships and even the ability to receive health care services.Footnote 1

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funds research that supports evidence-based policy decisions to improve the environments in which we live to prevent obesity. These types of interventions focus on prevention at the community or population level, rather than focusing on individual responsibility and blaming people with obesity. For example, CIHR-funded research investigates how the urban built environment impacts on diabetes and obesity, how schools can create environments that support student health, and how food marketing and nutrition labelling impacts on food purchase decisions.

The CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (CIHR-INMD) supports research that addresses the many cross-disciplinary challenges surrounding nutrition, metabolism, obesity, and diabetes in Canada. Obesity and Healthy Body Weight: Seeking Solutions is one of the strategic priorities of the Institute. INMD is proud to work with committed partners such as Obesity Canada to support research that aims to improve care for people with severe obesity. For example, INMD is funding Team ABC3, a dynamic group of researchers and clinicians from across Canada who are working to better understand severe obesity and improve treatment for children.  CIHR is also funding initiatives such as the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) ABC Activity begins in Childhood program focused on pre-school children and the Healthy Active Living & Obesity (HALO) research group focused on children’s active play. CIHR also funds the Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples initiative, which provides funding for research focused on engaging youth in the prevention of obesity and diabetes.

CIHR-funded researchers are looking at improving care of individuals in clinical settings, and developing effective prevention programs to establish solutions-focused interventions at the community and population health level.

While much has been done to reduce weight stigma in Canada, we must continue to support research that advances knowledge in this field and provides practical solutions to help Canadians achieve and maintain a healthy weight. To learn more about how CIHR-funded researchers are making a difference in the lives of Canadians, please read the CIHR Discoveries for Life profiles and consult the videos and resources listed below.

Dr. Norman Rosenblum, MD, FRCPC
Scientific Director
CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes

Additional Resources

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