Document / Publication
This paper explores the intersection of the social determinants of health, disaster vulnerability, and severe and morbid obesity. Previously identified vulnerable groups are also represented in severe and morbid obesity data. This poses the prospect for ‘triple jeopardy’ compounding the social determinants of health, disaster vulnerability and considerations with and for people with morbid obesity. When working to reduce disaster risk for vulnerable groups, the author proposes specific consideration is required to ensure ‘all-of-society engagement and partnership’ in an inclusive, accessible and non-discriminatory manner, to ensure no one is left behind.
Severe and morbid obesity are associated with highly elevated risks of adverse health outcomes and the prevalence of severe obesity is increasing globally. To date, disaster literature has not considered severe and morbid obesity as a specific vulnerability, despite reports of people being left behind during disasters because of their body size, shape or weight. The complex causes of obesity are associated with the social determinants of health and one’s potential vulnerability to disasters. The absence of appropriate considerations may lead to people being exposed to disproportionate and potentially avoidable risk.