Repeal the partnership between Diabetes Canada & Weight Watchers

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Weight Watchers is a private enterprise that promotes weight loss for the purpose of making a profit. There is no evidence demonstrating that Weight Watchers is effective for all, but a small portion of people, particularly for long term and sustainable weight loss lasting more than 2 years. As a result, this affiliation undermines the credibility of Diabetes Canada (which includes many healthcare professionals).  In a time where public perception and sentiment is more skeptical than ever, affiliations such as this one do not give credence to DC as a non-biased, reliable and trustworthy source of information. 

People living with Type 2 diabetes often live in a larger body and are victim to weight bias and discrimination. The pursuit of weight loss is futile as 95% of people who lose weight regain it within 1-5 years due to hormonal factors and not due to a lack of willpower or motivation (Mann et al, 2007). In other words, prescribing weight loss for diabetes is setting people up for failure. Therefore, focusing on lifestyle changes without attention to weight loss is what can lead to improved health outcomes. Studies show how people living with diabetes can experience health gains, even in the absence of weight loss (Tomiyama, Ahlstrom & Mann., 2013).    

Promoting weight loss implies that people of higher weight have something wrong with their bodies–this is a form of oppression that is internalized and leads to poor health outcomes (Tylka et al, 2014; Puhl & Heuer, 2010). If no action is taken, people living in larger bodies will continue to endure harm caused by discrimination because of their size.

Disclaimer: These views are my own.

1. Mann, T., Tomiyama, A., Westling, E., Lew, A.-M., Samuels, B., & Chatman, J. (2007). Medicare's search for effective obesity treatments: Diets are not the answer. American psychologist, 62(3), 220-233.

2. Puhl, R., & Heuer, C. (2010). Obesity stigma: Important considerations for public health. American journal of public health, 100(6), 1019-1028.

3. Tomiyama, A. J., Ahlstrom, B., & Mann, T. (2013). Long- term effects of dieting: Is weight loss related to health? Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7(12), 861.

4. Tylka, T. L., Annunziato, R. A., Burgard, D., Danielsdottir, S., Shuman, E., Davis, C., & Calogero, R. M. (2014). The weight-inclusive versus weight-normative approach to health: Evaluating the evidence for prioritizing well-being over weight loss. Journal of Obesity.

 



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