Living with obesity — existential experiences
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionUeland, V., Furnes, B., Dysvik, E., Rørtveit, K. (2019) Living with obesity — existential experiences. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 14. 10.1080/17482631.2019.1651171
Aims and objectives: The aim was to gain in-depth understanding about individuals’ existential experiences of living with obesity. Background: People living with obesity face great vulnerability and existential challenges. The different treatments offered do not seem to meet the individual needs of persons with obesity. A deeper understanding of existential experiences from an individual perspective is needed to individualize treatment. Design: An exploratory phenomenological–hermeneutical design was used to gain a greater understanding of the existential experiences involved in living with obesity. Methods: The participants represented a convenient sample. 18 qualitative interviews were conducted and subjected to phenomenological–hermeneutical analysis. Results: Four themes emerged: shaped by childhood; captured by food; depressed by the culture; and judged by oneself. Conclusions: The burden of being obese can be experienced as being objectified and alienated as a human being. We need to turn towards a life-world perspective, seeing each human being as a living body to overcome objectification and alienation, and then move them towards becoming subjects in their own lives, through giving space for self-love. Health care workers need to assist persons living with obesity to reduce objectification and alienation. It is important to develop intervention that has an individual, holistic approach.