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Catch up: Stopping obesity stigma – a priority for all 

Catch up: Stopping obesity stigma – a priority for all 

A workshop hosted by the All-island Obesity Action Forum supported by safefood, Association for the Study of Obesity Northern Ireland Network and the Association for the Study of Obesity on the Island of Ireland.  

Date: Tuesday 15th November 2022 
Time: 9.00am to 1.30pm 
Venue: National Concert Hall, Dublin Directions (Opens Google Maps in a new window)

Overweight and obesity is a highly stigmatised condition with misconceptions of obesity prevalent in society. Experiencing this stigma can have a negative impact on people living with obesity. This event will explore what obesity stigma is, the impact experiencing stigma has on people living with obesity and how to address it.  

Catch up

Welcome address

Niamh Arthurs, Association for the Study of Obesity on the island of Ireland 

Pervasiveness, impact and implications of obesity stigma

Dr Stuart Flint, University of Leeds 

A PDF of Dr Stuart Flint’s presentation is available upon request by emailing [email protected]

Living with obesity and pregnancy

Sarah Le Brocq, All About Obesity

Being the change

Johnny Lamb, European Coalition for People Living With Obesity / Obesity UK

ICPO: How we address obesity stigma, bias and discrimination

Susie Birney, the Irish Coalition for People Living with Obesity 

Reduced to a metric – the impact of obesity stigma on healthcare provision

Leona Ryan, Science Foundation Ireland Center for Research Training in Digitally Enhanced Realities/ University of Galway 

Q&A Session 

Closing Remarks

Dr Laura McGowan, Association for the Study of Obesity Northern Ireland Network




Stuart Flint – University of Leeds

Dr Stuart W. Flint is Associate Professor at the University of Leeds, and President of Scaled Insights. Dr Flint is an Honorary Academic for the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities. He is the Chair of the Obesity Policy Engagement Network (UK), and a contributing member to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Obesity and APPG on a Fit and Healthy Childhood. He has a specific interest and expertise in stigma and discrimination, leading work internationally and nationally to highlight the pervasiveness and impact of weight stigma and discrimination. He has developed interventions to reduce stigmatising attitudes and discriminatory behaviours working national and local governments, health systems, education, media and the general population. Dr Flint has published widely in high impact journals including the Lancet, BMJ and Nature Medicine.

Sarah Le Brocq – All About Obesity

Sarah Le Brocq has a unique skillset of living with obesity, a background in science, 16 years’ experience of working in the pharmaceutical industry, alongside the NHS and 6 years’ experience of being a trustee/Director of an obesity charity. Sarah recently founded a new obesity organisation called All About Obesity, which is aiming to be the equivalent of Diabetes UK in the obesity space. ‘All About Obesity aims to be the leading obesity organisation for advancing obesity research, supporting and driving public education, a trusted resource for people living with obesity, healthcare professionals and policymakers and a support platform for people living with obesity.’ Sarah is known as a Thought Leader in the Obesity space, has a wide network of relationships with key obesity stakeholders. She is also well known in the media and is regularly called upon to give her thoughts and expertise around current Obesity affairs. She sits of the strategic council for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity, a stakeholder in NHSE’s new National Obesity Audit, a lay member on the NICE Weight Management Committee, a representative on the OHA Healthy Weight Strategy, lived experience group and a Trustee of ASO. She has also co-authored a number of published academic papers in scientific journals.

Being the change – Johnny Lamb, European Coalition for People living with Obesity / Obesity UK

Johnny Lamb has lived with obesity his entire life. Johnny says ‘It’s brought pretty much every dark part of my experience but there’s been a few glimmers of positivity in there too. I was at my heaviest 45 stone 11 pounds, now I aim and strive to become the change society needs to see and to combat this disease’.

Susie Birney – the Irish Coalition for People Living with Obesity

Susie Birney is from Dublin, Ireland. She lives with an eating disorder called ARFID. Despite being physically active growing up, Susie saw many loses and gains with her weight, leading to Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and other co-morbidities which became health barriers for her since her 30’s. In 2015 Susie had a Roux-en-Y, with her diabetes in remission since. Coping with regain is a daily challenge and Susie has sought help with further treatment for Obesity since 2020. Susie is a patient representative with the Association for the Study of Obesity on the Island of Ireland (ASOI) since 2016. She is Secretary of the European Coalition for People Living with Obesity (ECPO) since 2019. She also leads the newly formed national patient organization the Irish Coalition for People Living with Obesity (ICPO) since 2020. Addressing stigma is a primary focus for Susie who is known to challenge the language and imagery which is used inappropriately around any matters of obesity. Education of obesity stigma is vital, and she believes everyone plays a part in changing the narrative around obesity, not only health care professionals or people who live with this chronic relapsing disease.

Leona Ryan – Science Foundation Ireland Center for Research Training in Digitally Enhanced Realities (SFI CRT d-real) / University of Galway

Leona Ryan is a Psychologist and Science Foundation Ireland PhD scholar. Her main research interest concerns the integration of health psychology principles with immersive technologies to support the reduction of enacted weight stigma in primary practice. Specifically, her research focuses on the identification of weight stigmatising behaviours enacted by healthcare providers across healthcare settings from the perspective of the patient living with obesity. Additionally, Leona explores the education and training needs for the treatment of obesity with General Practitioners within the Irish context. The ambition of Leonas research is to create a weight stigma reduction strategy informed by both the patient and the practitioner to improve the provision of care for obesity while enhancing the skillset required to do so. Leona was invited to contribute to the Irish adaptation of the Obesity Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines, she was co-author to the adaptation of the chapter ‘Reducing Weight Bias in Obesity Management, Practice and Policy’, with a focus on Population and Public Health Consequences; Consequences to engagement in Primary Healthcare and obesity stigma in reproductive healthcare. Leona is a member of the ASOI and sits on the ASOI Education Committee and the Obesity Education 4 ALL Committee – a team of practitioners and academics dedicated to improving the educational infrastructure around obesity in Ireland.

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