EASO Masterclass: Obesity Advocacy

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I had the amazing opportunity to take part of the EASO Obesity Advocacy Masterclass on 6 November 2018, which brought together 28 multidisciplinary obesity leaders (including patients), from 15 countries around the world.

The programme covered core aspects of obesity intervention communication strategy through interactive modules that combined theoretical and practical approaches. These strategies were developed by communication and education experts and opinion leaders in obesity.

This masterclass gave me the opportunity to develop my own advocacy skills, become knowledgeable about state-of-the-art advocacy perspectives and tools, discuss ideas on how to improve advocacy messages in a cultural sensitive and organisationally appropriate way, exchange experiences and knowledge, and was an excellent networking opportunity with other COMs and European colleagues.

My 3 key takeaways from the Masterclass focus on how to communicate effectively, making people remember key ideas and feel inspired and motivated to change:

a) selecting a core message;

b) using an honest, empathetic, interactive, simple, original and EMOTIONAL communication approach

c) employing a person-centered communication style for eliciting behaviour change – motivational interviewing.

I was fascinated by the aims and reach of the EASO project towards building and strengthening obesity advocacy in Europe, and I eagerly look forward to taking the next steps in this collective and socially responsible effort to improve peoples’ health and quality of life.

Sónia Borges Rodrigues is Adjunct Professor, Lisbon Nursing School, lecturer in Children’s Nursing and Health Education. Her research interests focus on childhood obesity prevention in primary care and empowering patient education.