Women-Centred Sensitive Practice Guidelines for Weight Issues: A Proactive Primary Prevention Approach

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Thille, Patrica H.
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Weight preoccupation and body dissatisfaction affect the majority of Canadian women and can foster behaviours that adversely affect their well-being. Rather than understanding these attitudes and behaviours as the problem s o f individuals, socio cultural, models argue that the environments in which we live influence these experiences. The cultural institution of Western medicine has been named as one socio-cultural contributor to the idealization of thinness and weight discrimination. The purpose of this research is to highlight how the behaviours of health care professionals influence women’s sense of body satisfaction and weight preoccupation as well as their health care access and health outcomes. This study critically examines the discursive patterns in fifteen women’s stories of weight-related discussions with health care professionals and presents an alternative model for clinical care (“sensitive practice guidelines”) that responds to concerns articulated by the ‘health at every size’ approach and by broader critiques o f the culture of medicine.
Weight preoccupation, body dissatisfaction, health care professionals