Sudbury·Morning North

Food shaming, BMI measures can harm, Sudbury researcher says

A researcher in Sudbury says it's time to re-think the strategy in the fight against obesity, and focus more on promoting overall health.

Dr. Adèle Lafrance Robinson says people should promote moderation, overall health

A Laurentian University researcher says labelling food 'good' and 'bad' can create a negative emotional relationship with certain foods—and those "shame cycles" can put vulnerable people at risk. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

A researcher in Sudbury says it's time to re-think the strategy in the fight against obesity, and focus more on promoting overall health. 

Dr. Adèle Lafrance Robinson is a clinical psychologist and researcher at Laurentian University.
Dr. Adèle Lafrance Robinson is a a clinical psychologist and researcher at Laurentian University. (CBC )

She said while there is no question that obesity-related illnesses are a growing health problem, the manner in which weight and health are approached can be harmful to youth and those with eating disorders. 

She points to "moralizing" language around "good" and "bad" foods.

"We [should] talk about moderation, so all foods fit," Robinson said. "The minute you have an emotional connection with food, you will engage with that food differently."

"We have to be very mindful not to have fears of foods, or even feel shamed by certain foods."

Dr. Adèle Lafrance Robinson spoke with CBC Sudbury Morning North radio show host Markus Schwabe on Friday. 

There may be a downside to the campaign against obesity. It may be harming people with eating disorders. Dr. Adele Lafrance Robinson was in our studios to talk about how people with eating disorders could be affected. 7:58

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Dr. Adèle Lafrance Robinson is hosting a presentation on eating disorders on Tuesday, Feb. 3  at Sudbury Secondary School at 6 p.m. 

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