Is Obesity Really A Disease? (with Ragen Chastain)

Your Doctor Friends

Is Obesity Really A Disease? (with Ragen Chastain)

March 28, 2023

Is Obesity Really A Disease? (with Ragen Chastain)

So may headlines reference obesity as an “epidemic”. For generations, it has been dogma that larger bodies are bad for your health. It has also widely been assumed that if you have a higher weight, it is because you have made bad health decisions and therefore you are to blame.

For many folks, (doctors included) we were taught these ideas as simple, undeniable facts: Obesity will kill you. You only become obese by eating too much and not exercising.

So, if someone is obese, it is because they aren’t doing the “right things”. We just need to counsel them to do the right things and they will “choose” to be healthy. And make sure to bring it up at every appointment so they don’t forget!

But what if all of this was wrong?

Is it possible that having a higher weight does not actually mean you are unhealthy? 

Thankfully we have Ragen Chastain to educate us. She has over 20 years of experience researching weight and healthcare.

Ragen Chastain is a speaker, writer, researcher, Board Certified Patient Advocate, multi-certified health and fitness professional, and thought leader in weight science, weight stigma, and healthcare. Utilizing her background in research methods and statistics, Ragen has brought her signature mix of humor and hard facts to healthcare, corporate, conference, and college audiences.


Topics in this episode include:

Is “obesity” really a disease?

Where did the BMI calculation come from?

Where do the terms “obesity” and “overweight” come from?

What is the “success rate” (according to research) for attempting intentional weight loss?

What is “weight cycling”? How is it harmful?

What is meant by “enjoyable movement”?

How can we foster a weight-neutral health culture???

Ragen has a Substack titled “Weight and Healthcare“. Check it out!

Ragen recommends the HAES (Health At Every Size) Health Sheets for a great comprehensive, evidence-based resource.

Her Instagram handle is @ragenchastain, and her Twitter handle is @danceswithfat

Ragen also recommends the following resources:

Da’Shaun Harrison’s “Belly of the Beast

Sabrina Strings’ “Fearing the Black Body

Shelby Gordon on Instagram at @fit.flexible.fluid

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(Disclaimer: we will not answer specific medical questions or offer medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional with any and all personal health questions.)


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