For many years, treating obesity didn’t seem quite as respectable as other medical specialties. Worse, the patients who sought that treatment were viewed with scorn by many people in society, including some health care professionals. Even though more than 40% of American adults are classified as obese, weight stigma is still a serious problem.

That may start to change as our understanding of the causes and treatment of this condition shift. Presenting excess fat as a simple matter of personal responsibility (“eating too much” or “not exercising enough”) overlooks the many complex factors driving this condition (The Lancet Public Health, Nov. 1, 2019).