On Tuesday, 16 March 2021 the Eating Disorders Health Integration Team (EDHIT) hosted a half-day virtual research conference with presentations from Professor Emma Rich from the University of Bath and Professor Carla Rice from the University of Guelph, Canada.
The event is ED HIT's sixth research conference and the virtual format meant that delegates were able to join from North America.
More than 130 attendees listened to Professor Emma Rich talk about the impact of digital platforms on young people's mental health, bodies and body image and Professor Carla Rice talk about her project featuring stories and experiences of queer women and fat/obesity stigma.
Speakers (and links to speakers' presentations as PDFs and projects)
Professor Emma Rich
Department of Health, University of Bath
During the first COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, there was a significant increase in the downloading and use of fitness and dieting digital technologies. In this talk, I draw on research from a two-year welcome trust funded project examining young people’s use of digital health technologies. Young people are engaging in a range of different digital health devices and platforms (social media, apps, websites, videos, images, wearable devices) and the data on and about their bodies and health practices continue to accumulate, sometimes without their knowledge. As a result, their bodies and health states are becoming increasingly datafied and quantified. However, research findings suggest that many of these digital health tools can lead some young people to engage with forms of self-monitoring which have been linked with disordered eating or excessive exercising regimens. The research revealed that in extreme cases parents or others have intervened to stop young people from using fitness and dieting apps because of their perceived harmful effects. I consider the implications of these findings for health education and argue that the pervasiveness of digital media in young people’s lives raises questions about the adequacy.
Professor Carla Rice
College of Social & Applied Human Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
A selection of Re.Vision 'Through Thick and Thin' videos were shown during Dr Carla Rice's presentation at the ED HIT Research Conference on 16 March 2021.
Carla will talk about one of her recent projects wherein queer women speak back to ED and obesity discourses. The project uses storytelling and interviews to surface the operations of weight stigma in and beyond health care and theorizes fatmisia as hatred as opposed to fear of fat. Feelings about and treatment of fat persons are understood as being located on a register comparable to misogyny. The project also looks at how fat stigma intersects with other spaces of othering and belonging such as race, class, age, indigeneity, gender and sexuality.