Dear Researchers: Here’s what WE know works for US.

WARNING: Another rant is on its way.

Many moons ago I was exposed to some academics who were beginning to work on a project around fast food and obesity in children. I was so excited to finally be in a position to use my personal experiences and insights as someone who has been obese since childhood for a purpose as constructive as research on obesity. I expressed a desire to meet with the other academics on the premise that I believed I could offer invaluable insight into the life, mind and psyche of an obese child AND adult. The response? [smiling] “Why don’t we just leave that to the experts.”

Oh I’m sorry, do they have more than 32 years experience as being an obese person? Because I do, and I reckon that makes me pretty close to an expert in the field of obesity, overweight, and whatever else you associate with it.

Now quite obviously I didn’t say this because it was one of those moments where you sit in silence, taking in what was just said (and come up with an awesome response when you’re about to go to sleep). I discussed it with my partner that evening using phrases like ‘is he for real?’ and ‘I think my LIFE makes me an expert, thank you very bloody much.’ As an analyst himself, my partner could understand the response. I wasn’t an ‘expert’ in their eyes because to their knowledge I was just a newfound fitness instructor with no fancy letters after my name,

The thing is, I do have letters after my name –  a nice little collection, actually, I just don’t use them on a day to day basis. As someone who has Postgraduate qualifications in Psychology I understand the value of statistics, statistical significance and so on and so forth. I also find my life and experiences fascinating – in a research sense. But it had me wondering – if these researchers don’t want to hear from me, who are they asking about obesity? Who are they observing? Where are all of these research results coming from? Is the research really representing me, as an overweight person?

Don’t get me wrong, I think research into how we can best improve our health overall, not just a specific population, is always positive. I just see some initiatives and think, ‘really?’ So in my usual ‘don’t whinge without a solution’ manner, I have compiled a survey of aspects I personally believe give great insight into what does and doesn’t work for us when it comes to getting active. These are the questions I would love to be asked.

Millions of dollars is currently being spent on obesity research. Lets see what our awesome community can achieve at the cost of a few minutes of our time. I thank you in advance for your participation.

Click here to participate

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4 thoughts on “Dear Researchers: Here’s what WE know works for US.

  1. Do you know specifically what their research was looking at?
    I’d be really interested in seeing more qualitative research on the experience of “larger” folks, especially in fitness environments. I’m curious if it’s actually been done from an academic pov- most “obesity” research is quantitative, and most is medically focused which reduces people to numbers and takes out the whole human experience aspect. (lol, and actually I tend to favor quantitative research myself, but this is a topic I think would be nice to see more qualitative work with.)

  2. The academics I potentially had access to actually were lecturers at our local university and have been responsible for some great programs for both children and adults, and based a lot of their programs on quantitative results.

    I’m exactly like you, i love numbers, but I would love to see some qualitative work being done also because it’s such a subjective and personal experience. Most of the research out there seems to be only quantitative.

  3. Yes, statistics and numbers are important, but so is qualitative research. Obviously it depends on what they’re studying, but I find it baffling that a study on obesity would so readily dismiss such research. Yes, research. Qualitative research is RESEARCH.

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