Weight of Stigma, (WoS) was announced as a new research project by Healthwatch Essex earlier this year. Despite similar levels of obesity between men and women, previous research has focused almost entirely on women. The WoS project aims to understand men’s lived experiences of obesity and bring their voices to the forefront of research.
The health risks associated with obesity and its prevalence have consistently been widely documented. However, studying the experiences of those living with obesity has only recently been recognised as offering valuable insight into the successes, failures and challenges of weight management services and treatment.
Adam is a participant in the WoS project. He said, “I was invited to take part in a study by John Day from Healthwatch Essex to recount my experiences of being a man who had tried to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.
“Having my say was cathartic, if not a little self-indulgent. A comment I made to John during that call really stuck with me. For days, weeks and even months; one thing I said rattled around in my head.
“There’s no one like me who will stand out in front of the world and tell them who we are. I’m sure I’m not alone. Then I thought to myself, “Why me? Why not!”.
Lived experience is at the heart of our work at Healthwatch Essex and it’s used to have a positive impact on the redesign and improvement of local services. For this project, Healthwatch Essex will conduct interviews to identify and consider how and why men enter, drop-out of and navigate weight management and treatment services and, where possible, why some men do not engage with available services.
The study could generate implications for the design of weight management services and help encourage and improve the rate at which men engage with health services more generally.
If you are interested in participating in the Weight of Stigma research, you can contact Dr. John Day at John.Day@Healthwatchessex.org.uk