Social Science to Improve How We Talk about Weight

We explore a wide range of issues on The Measure of Everyday Life that social science researchers have explored. One of the challenges that researchers face is a tendency for academic papers to present topics in broad and abstract terms, partly because of format and formality, rather than offering insight regarding the emotional responses and even mundane logistical challenges people often face as they live their everyday lives. Sometimes, though, researchers are able to elevate those responses and challenges as a central focus of their work. That has been the case as Dr. Rebecca Puhl and her colleagues at the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity have addressed the prevalence and effects of stigmatizing language about body weight.


Example free image from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity image repository. Image Source: UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Dr. Puhl’s team has generated some practical tools for people wanting to make a positive difference in our public dialog. One of those has been an free image repository, which offers journalists and others assistance in covering the topic of obesity in a more respectful manner than sometimes has been the case with past stock photo use.

We talked with Rebecca about her work and experiences and you can listen here.

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