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Dr. Mayo: Weight, What?

Tactfully and sensitively addressing weight issues with loved ones


by Dr Nicolle Mayo - October 4, 2019

Nearly 40% of adults and almost 20% of children are obese in the United States according to the American Medical Association. This is a sizable increase from years past that has incredible ramifications on America’s health, mental health, healthcare, and mortality rates. It’s no secret. Doctor’s offices, mental health clinics, schools and a number of organizations are cracking down on educating kids and adults about this issue, as both a preventative and intervention strategy to reduce obesity rates. TV showcases various addictions and heavy-weight lifestyles. Schools deal with bullying, self-esteem, and shame connected to obesity. Clearly awareness is present and change is occurring; however, changes are being made in both positive and negative ways. Sadly, as with any mental health or medical issue, misconceptions continue. Not everyone receives the same education, or message about how to help and support those stuck in this epidemic. Medicines, new diets, and surgeries are thrown out as options. Sometimes mental health resources are offered, but in many cases, they are not.

How do we continue to combat? Education seems to be the primary method used to prevent and sometimes intervene when other resources are scarce, though consistency and follow-through are essential. How we talk to and support other people in their journeys to reduce and maintain a healthy weight are important predictors of mental health.

The National Public Radio released an article on ways parents (or even educators, friends, relatives, anybody) can empower those (kids) struggling with being overweight or obese. The key to the article is KIDS. Our views of ourselves are influenced by the people around us and start when we are kids. We need to start supporting kids now, rather than putting them down for decisions they were trained and helped to make related to their health and mental health by adults around them. Starting change with them impacts change for our future adults. The article, found here, provides both factual and anecdotal accounts for how we can help intervene with kids struggling with weight (though we can use some of these things with adults, too). It encourages those supporting kids to STOP the teasing, advocates for promoting positive body image, recommends a dietary lifestyle change for everyone involved in the child’s immediate daily life, discusses using rewarding behaviors, and suggests consistent and positive modeling. These are basic functions that work in so many different facets of life. These methods borrow from basic behavior modification techniques that can be applied easily at home. Take note of these and practice. The future of our kids, and adults is in our own hands.

Nicolle Mayo, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Psychology Department
Mansfield University


Idea/Concept: Dr Nicolle Mayo

Videography: Ethan Chabala

Video Editing: Ethan Chabala

Writing: Dr Nicolle Mayo

Anchor: Dr Nicolle Mayo


Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by UPMC Susquehanna, Red Skillet

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