Weighty Issues in the Workplace
Weighty Issues in the Workplace
Skill Building Session III | 3:00 PM
Speaker: Lori Klos, PhD, RD, Associate Professor and Nutritional Sciences Program Director, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Description: When it comes to overweight and obesity among adults, many assumptions are often made: it is unlikely that adults with “overweight” bodies can be healthy; overweight adults are likely not engaging in healthy eating or activity practices; it is “dangerous” for overweight individuals to accept their bodies because that might lead to health-related behavioral complacency; weight loss is the only path to improved health and wellbeing. Assumptions are often made about “normal” weight persons as well: normal weight bodies are likely healthy bodies; normal weight adults must practice healthy behaviors on a regular basis; normal weight individuals would probably not benefit from workplace wellness interventions. This session will explore these assumptions from an evidence-based perspective and present alternative ways of thinking about weight, health, and wellness and actionable steps to promote a weight-inclusive workplace for all employees.
- Describe the prevalence of weight stigma within the workplace.
- Identify the consequences of weight-related discriminatory experiences on adults’ weight status, health-related behaviors, and psychological wellbeing.
- Differentiate the Health At Every Size paradigm from a traditional dieting and weight loss paradigm.
- Summarize the relationship between body satisfaction and weight status, health-related behaviors, and psychological wellbeing.
- Identify specific steps that can be taken to cultivate a weight-inclusive workplace that facilitates health and wellbeing for all employees.
“Don’t step on it...it makes you cry.” This quote is from a cartoon where two little girls are glancing warily at a scale. The weeping that might ensue is not due to stepping on a python or a rusty nail, but simply on a device that measures weight - the force generated by the gravitational attraction of the Earth on a human body. Yet in the United States and many Westernized societies, a person’s weight has grown to encompass many different meanings for different people: an indicator of health, a source of anxiety and stress, something to be “managed,” and more. In a society deemed “obesogenic” where larger-bodied individuals are the majority, anti-fat bias and weight-based discrimination remain prevalent, with serious, often unexpected consequences. These different interpretations of weight are what Lori Klos, Associate Professor and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, finds irresistibly intriguing. To better understand the complex relationships between weight and health, she obtained her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University, and completed advanced training in adult weight management through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As co-director of the Body Weight and Shape Research Lab, she conducts and publishes research exploring topics such as weight stigma, body image, and weight management. She particularly enjoys guiding future nutrition and fitness health professionals in the exploration of their own weight-related misperceptions and biases, and helping them navigate the scientific literature to identify ways to facilitate health and well-being among individuals of all body sizes.