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Addressing weight stigma

Addressing weight stigma

Up to 42% of adults experience weight stigma, with women experiencing a higher level of stigma

Weight stigma includes the negative social stereotypes, misconceptions and negative behaviours surrounding people living with overweight and obesity because of their weight and/or body size. It can lead to unfair treatment, discrimination and health inequalities for people living with obesity.

The World Obesity Federation (WOF) recently published a briefing paper on weight stigma. The briefing is part of their policy dossiers that provide a summary of evidence and resources to help policy makers implement effective policies. 

The briefing outlines that reducing obesity stigma and weight discrimination is a key component in addressing obesity. Public policies can play an important role. The views and voices of people living with obesity must be included in the design, development, and implementation of relevant policies. This can provide valuable insights, experiences, and perspectives of those living with obesity such as their experiences of food environments, while also addressing stigma and weight bias. 

Other considerations include:

  • Training on weight stigma should be encouraged in both healthcare and policy settings
  • Develop and implement policies which recognise obesity as a disease, and recognise that preventing obesity is an environmental and social issue
  • Develop and implement policies which take a systems approach

There is more information available on the opportunities for obesity policies to help reduce stigma as part of the World Obesity Federation’s policy dossier

To learn more about weight stigma take a listen to our safefood Nutrition Podcast that explores the topic of weight stigma, its impact on people living with obesity, the settings within which weight stigma occurs and obesity portrayal in the media.

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