The idea that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem has been around since Biblical times (the phrasing there, "Those who are not for us are against us") and is echoed in today's climate-change protests.
We think the sentiment also applies to how you react to folks around you who are part of the current obesity epidemic.
Research shows that discrimination against overweight and obese people is very common; the bigger a person's waistline, the bigger the prejudice. Bias leads to fewer social and employment opportunities, lower wages and exaggeration of health problems.
Some overweight people are reluctant to have medical exams and some health-care professionals are reluctant to address weight issues unless the patient brings them up.
Clearly, if you discriminate against someone who is overweight or obese in the workplace, the mall or on the playground, that makes you part of the problem.
To be part of the solution, the most effective approach is to use positive reinforcement - whether you're dealing with family members, friends or colleagues who are overweight.
Make an effort to help the person adopt a positive vision of him- or herself, and offer support for efforts to improve health.
At Dr. Mike's Cleveland Clinic Wellness Center, positive reinforcement is the heart of programs for stress reduction, diabetes management, weight loss and heart health. Setting realistic goals; listening to each person's concerns; building teamwork and emotional support: Those are the keys to helping people achieve a more positive self-image and a healthy weight.
© 2014 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Posts by Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D. and Dr. Mike Roizen, M.D.
© King Features Syndicate