Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences


Much research focuses on the causes of weight gain, but few studies examine the perspectives of those who have been categorized as “severely obese.” This paper discusses the findings of 54 interviews with weight loss surgery candidates in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. We explore participants’ perspectives on their histories of weight gain, focusing on their explanations for weight gain as well as the emotions surrounding their weight gain experiences. We find that the dominant individualized, medicalized construction of obesity both (1) adds to the burden of blame for weight loss surgery candidates, with potential emotional health implications, and (2) overlooks key social determinants of health.