School for Social Work
This exploratory study was undertaken to determine the model(s) by which the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) understands issues related to overweight and obesity as represented by their published web content. Since two-thirds of the American population is categorized as overweight or obese, it is important that the NASW address social workers' roles in working with these individuals. As one of the public faces of the organization, the NASW website is an ideal forum for communicating an overarching model that represents the NASW's understanding of issues related to working with overweight or obese individuals as well as propose recommendations for best practices in both clinical and social justice work. Nineteen published web articles that discussed issues of overweight and obesity were retrieved from the NASW's website and analyzed. In total, 278 article segments were identified for analysis and were then coded by themes and sub-themes. Based on this analysis of their web content, it appears that the NASW has chosen to frame issues of overweight and obesity primarily as medical issues. The NASW web content also recommends a broad range of roles for social workers in working with overweight individuals. Unfortunately, the NASW's web content does not substantively address issues of prejudice and discrimination against those who are overweight or obese and does not recommend methods for social workers to address these important social justice issues. Since articles on the NASW website represent the organization's public face, it is important that the NASW "weigh in" regarding social justice work for this population.
Kanard, M. Elizabeth, "Weighing in : an analysis of the NASW's web-based content regarding theoretical issues and practice recommendations for social workers working with overweight and obese individuals" (2008). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.