Society often treats obesity as a character flaw rather than a disease, says researcher Michelle Cardel, and that needs to change. This podcast explores productive treatments and effective therapies for obesity with a focus on adolescents.
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Michelle Cardel is an assistant professor with the University of Florida Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics and has a background in nutrition, obesity, and health. She discusses her current focus on adolescents, a program that explores the social, environmental, and behavioral risk factors of obesity in order to develop healthy lifestyle interventions for adolescents.
One unique element in their approach is the degree to which they investigated what they teens themselves wanted from the program. Focus groups offered clear information about the degree of parental intervention, for example, and helped the researchers understand that obligatory parental involvement can open the door to voices of shame and guilt.
Professor Cardel also explains their therapy approach. Acceptance-based therapy focuses on elements like self-regulation skills, mindfulness, and acceptance of uncomfortable internal experiences. She adds that they emphasize a willingness to be open to how experiences feel, focusing on accepting the discomfort of, for example, a diet to reduce obesity or a long walk versus a Netflix session. They then emphasize choosing to have these uncomfortable or difficult behaviors despite these feelings. Recognizing that discomfort makes for a more successful experience when one chooses to engage in behaviors that help reach goals, she adds.
For more about her work, find her on major social media outlets, which she uses to stay active in science communication.
Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK