October 01, 2018
Weight challenge more than raw BMI
A Northland doctor wants public health specialists to rethink their approach to tackling obesity in Māori.
Ricky Bell was recently awarded his PhD from the University of Otago for his thesis on pathways to wellbeing, Huarahi Hauora.
His paper Understanding Obesity in the context of an Indigenous population was one of the most shared papers for 2017 after it was published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.
He says overweight people are told to eat better and exercise more, which isn’t helpful, given the complex array of factors that contribute to obesity.
"A couple of our participants in our research said one of the first things their doctor did was ask them to step on the scales. They're already feeling whakamā about their size. When the doctor focuses on that number, focuses on their BMI, particularly round that biomedical aspect of obesity, it's a disconnect straight away," Dr Bell says.
While there are many benefits from exercise, there is no proven connection to weight loss.
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