International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Avoiding Conflicting Health Promotion Messages between Eating Disorders and Obesity Prevention. Can Systems Thinking Act as a Mediator, and How?
Manuela Ferrari

Abstract
Body shape and weight concerns and more extreme clinical conditions such as Eating Disorders (ED) and Obesity (OB) are considered serious health problems. Despite evidence of shared risk factors between ED and OB, the two fields of prevention appear to work independently with little or no interaction. Can systems thinking act as a mediator between the ED and OB field? Using Jackson’s System of Systems Methodologies as a theoretical framework, this article starts by discussing the unitary and than moves to pluralist and coercive approaches, to show how different methodologies can help to further understand the spectrum of weight-related problems. Systems thinking can act as a third party to connect the fields of ED and OB. It can help to capture the complexity of weight-related problems, as well as further explore shared prevention strategies. Furthermore, it helps to ensure fairness and diversity within the fields when implementing prevention interventions.

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