A weight of evidence: how society’s view of obesity is changing

Overweight people have long been criticised for their appearance, but a more enlightened awareness is now emerging

Some of our most deeply-held beliefs about weight are fundamentally flawed. Picture: Getty

Maura Murphy remembers it clearly: the moment that everything she had thought and felt about her weight since the age of 12 changed for ever. It was 2019, and she was listening to Dr Arya Sharma, an expert in obesity from Canada, give a talk in Dublin.

As Dr Sharma spoke about his work, something shifted within Murphy. That “lightbulb moment”, she recalls, finally “took all the self-stigmatisation and shame away from me.”

Murphy is ...