A stand-up approach to obesity

Dr. Arya Sharma, Obesity expert

Edmonton physician Dr. Arya Sharma uses stand-up comedy to to help patients and other physicians understand what obesity is – and isn’t.

I tell people to stop beating up on themselves for lack of motivation. They need to understand that there are good reasons for why they struggle with their weight.

VIDEO

Watch "The Dr. Sharma Show: Stop being a yo-yo" for more information on this initiative.

As one of Canada’s leading authorities on obesity, you might expect Dr. Arya Sharma to spend most of his time lecturing students and patients about the importance of eating right and exercising. Instead, Dr. Sharma – the University of Alberta’s chair in obesity – is using social media and a stand-up comedy presentation to share information that looks at the deeper issues that drive obesity.

“Everyone talks about eating right and exercising, which is so simplistic,” he explains. “I talk about things like time management and the links between mental health, depression and overeating. And I tell everyone to never trust a diet book that has recipes,” he laughs.

Although his stand-up routine the Dr. Sharma Show: A Lighthearted Look at Yo-Yo Dieting is fun and funny, it’s also full of compassion. “I tell people to stop beating up on themselves for lack of motivation. They need to understand that there are good reasons for why they struggle with their weight.”

VIDEO

Watch Dr. Sharma in action in Grande Prairie.

He also has advice for other physicians. “Telling obese people to ‘eat less and move more’ is like telling someone with depression to cheer up. It’s not that easy. And telling someone that it is demonstrates your lack of understanding.”

Dr. Sharma’s blog and Facebook page offer insights, information and tips for people looking to find a way to learn how to manage obesity. “It really is about managing obesity. Just like with other chronic diseases, there’s no cure but there are ways to treat it and we can help with that.”

The AMA advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness.