After an exciting weekend in Baltimore, MD, the OAC is proud to share of our first ever participation at Health Journalism 2019 — an annual conference presented by the Association of Healthcare Journalists and the Center for Excellence in Healthcare Journalism.
Each year, this renowned and highly coveted conference is dedicated to equipping health journalists to accurately report on health topics in all areas — from cancer to psychology and even obesity. The OAC is honored to have been selected as an exhibitor at this year’s meeting, where we educated health journalists from across the country on how to appropriately talk about obesity using science-based information.
What Health Journalists Should Know about Reporting on Obesity
OAC’s presence at Health Journalism 2019 was a landmark one because oftentimes, the media doesn’t understand the complexities of obesity and the real life issues faced by many people affected by it.
Our goal at the meeting was to assist health journalists in covering this topic appropriately. We brought with us copies of OAC’s Guidelines for Media Portrayals of Individuals Affected by Obesity and spoke to journalists and other attendees about the importance of:
- Using People-First Language (i.e. “affected by obesity” vs “obese”)
- Avoiding headless imagery of people with obesity and using photos from the OAC Image Gallery
- Using science-based information found in various OAC Educational Resources
A Step Toward Eradicating Weight Bias
The OAC recognizes that at the root of weight bias is mostly misunderstanding about obesity and its complexity. If we’re to see an end to weight bias, we have a duty to share REAL education about obesity and equip others with the tools/resources to discuss and address it appropriately.
We also know that the media has an enormous reach, and it is significantly responsible for many public perceptions about obesity — from healthcare professionals to researchers, teachers and everyday people. The OAC is excited to have left our mark at Health Journalism 2019 and equipped health journalists to go forward with the necessary knowledge and tools to discuss obesity appropriately in their unique areas.