Why is understanding the science behind weight important? It’s important because it effects how we see ourselves, and how we see others, says Donna H. Ryan, MD, who has studied the biological side of weight-loss for more than 22 years.
“Within our culture, we have a way of thinking about body size and body weight that’s very culturally driven,” Ms. Ryan said. “But I have a way of thinking about body size and body weight that’s very biologically driven.”
In a presentation at the 4th Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention, Ms. Ryan explains how weight gain drives health risks and weight-loss drives health benefits, but she also discusses a greater issue in the field of weight management — how we view individuals who are struggling with excess weight can play a role in the type of treatment they receive.
Ms. Ryan points to a photo of a woman who is affected by excess weight, and lists some of the conclusions that people often come to when judging her appearance. Statements such as “her lifestyle is a personal choice,” and “she just needs to eat less and exercise more,” are just a few of the examples she provides. You can’t tell why someone is affected by excess weight just by looking at them however, and it’s important that we understand the science behind weight so that we know not to jump to snap judgments, Ms. Ryan points out.
“I think if you have a better understanding of the biology of obesity, you would view this patient as having risk factors, genetic risk factors that make her at risk for excess weight gain in this modern environment,” Ms. Ryan said. “And that stress, her mood, medications she might be taking, and life events like pregnancy and menopause can drive weight regain and may be contributing to her excess body weight.”
Interested in learning more about the science behind weight? Check out Ms. Ryan’s full talk in the video presentation below:
This talk was presented at the 4th Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention in San Antonio, TX. To learn more about the Your Weight Matters National Convention and to make your plans to attend this year’s Convention on August 25-28 in Washington, DC, CLICK HERE.