Potential impact of SSH obesity research – University of Copenhagen

Potential impact of SSH obesity research

Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) research addresses obesity in a different way than the natural and health sciences, and therefore deliver other kinds of outcomes and impact that are more contextually specific integrating the actions of humans.

Some of the concrete outcomes and impact from investing in and collaborating across SSH obesity research would be – but not limited to – the likes of the following:

The possibility to better address the actions of humans

SSH research addresses obesity in a different way than the natural and health sciences. It addresses obesity from the perspective of the human world – consisting of culturally-formed individuals, populations, societies, nations, communities, social groups, and organisations. Human beings possess agency; they attribute meaning to their actions; they create ideas about the world that guide their actions, and they produce and react to the environments in which they live. This produces contingency – not natural laws.

Daily habits and “cures”

The daily habits and concerns or practical understandings and orientations associated with the development of obesity may vary considerably between men and women, children and adults, social classes, and member states, which means that policies and services that proved effective in one national, regional, or socio-economic setting may not work in settings where institutional frameworks or economic conditions are different. Social sciences and humanities can help produce valid evidence of the specific conditions for causes, problems, and “cures” in various contexts.

A new understanding of obesity as a complex phenomenon

Social sciences and humanities most often produce results that are contextually specific. This can help provide a more precise understanding of obesity in relation to population groups, communities, cultures, or social classes. Findings on the causes of obesity or how obesity can best be addressed will always vary according to the specific context.

Long term impact of focusing on SSH in obesity research

  • To prepare the European obesity research community for the forthcoming EU framework programme Horizon 2020, which will address societal challenges through research.
  • To establish and strengthen the network of researchers in social sciences and humanities with an interest, capacity, and experience in obesity research.
  • To create a forum for discussion that aims to shape future obesity research.
  • To facilitate the creation of new transdisciplinary collaborations in obesity research across Europe.
  • To address and support breaking down barriers in transdisciplinary research such as few obvious points of collaboration, the lack of incentives to initiate collaboration, the differences