Activity: Equity and obesity

Applying the concept of diversity to defining an issue reminds us to pay attention to differences among and between populations, among and between groups of women and men.  The concept of equity takes us a step further, to a consideration of whether or not differences are rooted in disadvantage or create disparities for some populations.  In the case of overweight and obesity, the concept of equity should prompt us to ask why some people are at greater risk.  It should also lead us to assess whether or not overweight and obesity takes a greater toll on some people than on others.

1. Consider the following charts and reflect on whether the patterns you see are a simple reflection of differences or if they might be a result of inequity?

CHART 1. Percentage overweight/obese (BMI ≥ 25) and obese (BMI ≥ 30), by sex and Aboriginal identity, household population aged 19 to 50, Ontario and western provinces, 2004

CHART 2. Percentage overweight/obese (BMI ≥ 25) or obese (BMI ≥ 30), by household income and Aboriginal identity, household population aged 19 to 50, Ontario and western provinces, 2004

Question: How might we explain these differences?

2. Article and video

While obesity and being overweight may be linked to inequity, we also need to consider whether unhealthy weights are a source of inequity. Read the following article or watch the following video and ask yourself if obesity and being overweight cause stigma.

Question: Does obesity and being overweight cause stigma?

Sources: chart 1, chart 2; [1] Naci Mokan and Erdal Tekin (2009). “Obesity, self esteem and wages”

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