We're looking forward to the sessions of the international "Public health ethics working group" (AEM/DGPH) for this winter term. The talks will take place on December 12th and January 22nd at 8-9:15 pm (20:00 - 21:15) CET.
We're very happy to announce our next talk by Dr. Angela Ballantyne:
Is the public health “war on obesity” doing more harm than good?
12th December; 8-9:15pm CET.
Assoc. Prof. Angela Ballantyne
A weight-centric paradigm focuses on the role of weight in causing ill health: leading to research that measures weight changes rather than health outcomes; a disproportionate emphasis on diet and lifestyle changes in clinical medicine; and an on-going war on obesogenic environments in public health. By contrast, a weight-neutral paradigm focuses on health and wellbeing irrespective of weight. Testimony from patients suggests there is no way to engage in medical screening of weight in a manner that is non-stigmatizing. There is growing evidence that fat shaming is prevalent in society and medicine; and that fat phobic attitudes of health providers is a significant cause of fat patients delaying or avoiding medical care and inaccurate diagnosis leading to avoidable morbidity and mortality. But do public health efforts to reduce obesogenic environments also perpetuate stigma and cause harm? In this talk I will use Raffle & Gray’s famous metric for evaluating public health screening programs: “All screening programmes do harm. Some do good as well and, of these, some do more good than harm at reasonable cost.” I will consider what good the war on obesity has achieved, what harm it has caused, and whether it has generated a net increase in health and well-being, at reasonable cost.
Bio: Angela Ballantyne teaches medical ethics at the University of Otago, Wellington. Her research interests include research with human subjects, justice, vulnerability, reproductive technologies, and data ethics. She has served on national expert committees for covid immunisation policy and research ethics review and is currently on the National AI and Algorithm Expert Advisory Group and the Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technologies. She has been President of the International Association of Bioethics; has worked in global health policy and ethics at the World Health Organization in Geneva, and is a regular Visiting Scholar at Yale University and the National University of Singapore.
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