Current research supports the complexity of obesity and the need for collaboration between sectors to create change, yet there is still a pervasive perception that individuals are to blame for their weight. The Applied Research Collaborations for Health Research group, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia conducted key informant interviews to examine the beliefs of service users, health practitioners and policy makers regarding obesity. These data were used to conduct a secondary analysis using qualitative analysis methodology to explore perceptions of obesity within a complex systems framework. Three major themes were common among participant groups. There was a desire for immediate results, a focus on individual blame and a resultant tension for change. Exploring these themes using a complex system lens demonstrated the importance of engaging contradictory groups to work together in a collaborative framework. Aligning paradigms across the treatment spectrum is crucial to working towards solutions that embrace complexity.
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Thesis advisor: Finegood, Diane
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