Bodyweight Perception on the Island of Ireland

Date: November, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-905767-28-1

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Background

In recent years, the prevalence of overweight/obesity has increased dramatically, both globally  and on the island of Ireland, with a myriad of factors affecting this change. Over time being overweight has become a social norm and, as a result, people often no longer recognise that they are carrying excess weight.
 
While it is possible in some cases to change behaviour without raising awareness, behaviour-change models often state that awareness of the need to change is a prerequisite for successful behaviour change. Adults and carers of children and others, who do not recognise that they or their charge is an unhealthy weight, may be unlikely to seek intervention, or to understand that health information relating to being overweight or obese is relevant for them or those in their care. This may constitute an important barrier to self-lead dietary and lifestyle change and may have consequences for the potential effectiveness of interventions to address weight status.
 
With this in mind, safefood set up a working group in 2011, bringing together experts in this area from across the island of Ireland, to produce this report and develop a series of recommendations to address this issue specifically.
 
The general terms of reference are to:

  • Collate information on current research on bodyweight perception including factors associated with, and consequences of, bodyweight misperception
  • Identify knowledge gaps
  • Recognise key target groups
  • Examine international data for methods to address recognition of bodyweight status
  • Identify key stakeholders with a view to developing potential partnerships for future safefood campaigns on raising awareness of weight status
  • Develop recommendations for both research and communications practice.