The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders
2016 Boden Institute Events and Courses Archive
9 February 2016 Professor Stephan Rössner
Discrimination of obesity in society
2011-2015 Boden Institute Events and Courses Archives
2015 Events and Courses Archive may be viewed here (PDF file).
2014 Events and Courses Archive may be viewed here (PDF file).
2013 Events and Courses Archive may be viewed here (PDF file).
2012 Events and Courses Archive may be viewed here (PDF file).
2011 Events and Courses Archive may be viewed here (PDF file).
Tuesday 9 February 2016 1:00–2:00 pm
Presenter: Professor Stephan Rössner is Professor Emeritus of health behaviour research at the Karolinska Institute.
Summary of talk
Access to food has once been a survival strategy and the potential to maintain an excess energy store an advantage, when food shortage and starvation were part of every day life. Stone-age sculptures show grossly obese women as something very attractive.
The early years of Hollywood films used obese actors as their favourites to laugh at. Obese people were ridiculed as they were seen as sloppy, gluttonous and out of control. A film director once said ”any fat man is funny, especially when he is eating spaghetti.” With increasing knowledge about the health risks of overweight interest in obese actors was lost after some 20 years. Numerous data show that obese individuals are ostracized in society, from childhood and onwards. Obese individuals get lower salaries, higher health insurance costs, more expensive house renting, and less qualified tasks than normal weight subjects.
One would believe that the health care system would handle obesity - like any other disease - professionally and in a respectful way, but this is not the case. Doctors, nurses, dieticians, psychologists and physiotherapists often treat obese patients with scorn. In a sense this is understandable since compliance is low and treatment results far from satisfying. Education programs have been developed to train students of all kinds to treat the obese with the respect and compassion they deserve. After all, nobody in modern society wants to be obese and those unfortunately afflicted by the clash between stone-age genes and the modern ”toxic environment” need whatever support can be given rather than negative attitude with which they are often met.
About the presenter
Stephan Rössner MD, PhD is Professor Emeritus of health behaviour research at the Karolinska Institute and founder of the Obesity Unit, the academic centre as well as the clinical treatment program. After an initial clinical training as a cardiologist, Stephan developed the first Swedish clinical centre for treatment of severe obesity and its complications in Stockholm. He founded the Swedish Society for Obesity Research, and was President of the International Association for the Study of Obesity 1998-2002, which he also served in different capacities for more than 20 years.
Stephan has published more than 660 papers on cardiovascular medicine, nutrition, medical education and communication and long term treatment strategies for obesity and also contributed in a number of international textbooks on nutrition related matters. He is the present Director of the Royal Swedish Gastronomic Academy and the past President of the Swedish Academy for Culinary Sciences.
Stephan has published numerous cooking books, TV programs and material for the lay public. He has also communicated life style matters in humoristic ways as an actor on stage and as a stand-up comedian.