Claims about the “obesity epidemic” are ubiquitous in the scientific press and mass media. At the same time, eating disorders (EDs) are on the rise in most segments of the population, and weight stigma and fatphobia are well-documented by scholars and activists. Together, these factors have contributed to global health crises.
Many different groups of researchers, scholars, and activists have developed their own discourses to address the crisis surrounding weight stigma, obesity, and EDs. These groups include scholars working in critical obesity studies, fat studies, and public health policy, as well as clinicians, such as ED specialists, bariatric surgeons, and health care providers who endorse a position of Health at Every Size (HAES). Despite the urgent need for solutions, these groups tend to form relatively polarized communities and rarely interact productively with each other. This lack of collaboration and knowledge sharing among groups hinders progress in this area.
Our project aims to address this shortcoming by bringing together individuals adopting different perspectives on this health crisis. We aim to establish lines of communication between the various camps and help them develop a shared framework for thinking about the connections between weight and health.
To achieve this end, we propose to bring representatives from these camps together in a transdisciplinary conference, in which all participants are tasked with addressing a particular case study and relating their approach to others’ approaches. Facilitatinglines of communication among these groups is a necessary first step to developing more just and effective interventions on weight stigma, obesity, and EDs.