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      Embodied largeness: a significant women's health issue.

      Nursing Inquiry

      Women's Health, psychology, Women, Shame, Self Concept, Quality of Life, Prejudice, prevention & control, nursing, Obesity, Nursing Methodology Research, Nurse's Role, Longitudinal Studies, Humans, Holistic Health, Feminism, Female, Exercise, Diet, Reducing, Body Image, Body Constitution, Attitude to Health, Adaptation, Psychological

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          This paper describes a three-year long research project in which nine large-bodied women have engaged in a prolonged dialogue with the researcher about the experience of being 'obese'. The study involved an extensive review of the multidisciplinary literature that informs our understandings of body size. The literature review was shared with participants in order to support their critical understanding of their experience. An examination of a wide range of literature pertinent to the area of study reveals widespread acceptance of the notion that to be thin is to be healthy and virtuous, and to be fat is to be unhealthy and morally deficient. The experience of participants raised questions as to how nursing could best provide health-care for large women. According to the literature review, nurses have perpetuated an unhelpful and reductionist approach to their care of large women, in direct contradiction to nursing's supposed allegiance to a holistic approach to health-care. This paper suggests strategies for an improved response to women who are concerned about their large body size.

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