Weight discrimination and bullying.

Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, 309 Edwards Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA. Electronic address: .
Best practice & research. Clinical endocrinology & metabolism 04/2013; 27(2):117-27. DOI: 10.1016/j.beem.2012.12.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Despite significant attention to the medical impacts of obesity, often ignored are the negative outcomes that obese children and adults experience as a result of stigma, bias, and discrimination. Obese individuals are frequently stigmatized because of their weight in many domains of daily life. Research spanning several decades has documented consistent weight bias and stigmatization in employment, health care, schools, the media, and interpersonal relationships. For overweight and obese youth, weight stigmatization translates into pervasive victimization, teasing, and bullying. Multiple adverse outcomes are associated with exposure to weight stigmatization, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, suicidal ideation, poor academic performance, lower physical activity, maladaptive eating behaviors, and avoidance of health care. This review summarizes the nature and extent of weight stigmatization against overweight and obese individuals, as well as the resulting consequences that these experiences create for social, psychological, and physical health for children and adults who are targeted.

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    ABSTRACT: Failure to consume an adequate diet or over consumption during adolescence can disrupt normal growth and development, resulting in undesirable weight change. This leads to an increase in unhealthy weight control practices related to eating and exercise among both adolescent girls and boys to meet the societal 'ideal' body shape. This study therefore aims to examine the longitudinal changes in eating attitudes, body-esteem and weight control behaviours among adolescents between 13 and 17 years; and, to describe perceptions around body shape at age 17 years. A total of 1435 urban South African black and mixed ancestry boys and girls, who had data at both age 13 and 17 years from the Birth to Twenty cohort were included. Data were collected through self-administered questionnaires on eating attitudes (EAT-26), body esteem and weight control behaviours for either weight loss or muscle gain attempts. Height and weight were measured at both time points and BMI was calculated. Black females had a higher BMI (p,0.001) and an increased risk of developing eating disorders as well as significant increase in the prevalence of weight loss practices between the ages 13 and 17 years. At age 17 years both Mixed ancestry adolescents had lower body-esteem compared to black adolescents. The prevalence of possible eating disorders was 11% and 13.1% in early and late adolescents respectively. Males and females shared similar opinions on normal silhouettes being the 'best', 'getting respect' and being the 'happiest', while the obese silhouette was associated with the 'worst' and the 'unhappiest', and the underweight silhouette with the ''weakest''. Black females had a higher BMI and an increased risk of developing eating disorders. Adolescent females engaged more in weight loss practices whereas, males in muscle gain practices indicating that Western norms of thinness as the ideal are becoming more common in South Africa. Copyright: ß 2014 Gitau et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Funding: This author has no support or funding to report. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
    PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Question: Do physiotherapists demonstrate explicit and implicit weight stigma? Design: Cross-sectional survey with partial blinding of participants. Participants responded to the Anti-Fat Attitudes questionnaire and physiotherapy case studies with body mass index (BMI) manipulated (normal or overweight/obese). The Anti-Fat Attitudes questionnaire included 13 items scored on a Likert-type scale from 0 to 8. Any score greater than zero indicated explicit weight stigma. Implicit weight stigma was determined by comparing responses to case studies with people of different BMI categories (where responses were quantitative) and by thematic and count analysis for free-text responses. Participants: Australian physiotherapists (n = 265) recruited via industry networks. Results: The mean item score for the Anti-Fat Attitudes questionnaire was 3.2 (SD 1.1), which indicated explicit weight stigma. The Dislike (2.1, SD 1.2) subscale had a lower mean item score than the Fear (3.9, SD 1.8) and Willpower (4.9, SD 1.5) subscales. There was minimal indication from the case studies that people who are overweight receive different treatment from physiotherapists in clinical parameters such as length of treatment time (p = 0.73) or amount of hands-on treatment (p = 0.88). However, there were indications of implicit weight stigma in the way participants discussed weight in free-text responses about patient management. Conclusion: Physiotherapists demonstrate weight stigma. This finding is likely to affect the way they communicate with patients about their weight, which may negatively impact their patients. It is recommended that physiotherapists reflect on their own attitudes towards people who are overweight and whether weight stigma influences treatment focus. [Setchell J, Watson B, Jones L, Gard M, Briffa K (2014) Physiotherapists demonstrate weight stigma: a cross-sectional survey of Australian physiotherapists.Journal of Physiotherapy60:XXX-XXX.]
    Journal of physiotherapy 09/2014; · 2.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Even as obesity rates reach new highs, the social stigmatization of obesity seems to be strengthening and globalizing. This review identifies at least four mechanisms by which a pervasive environment of fat stigma could reinforce high body weights or promote weight gain, ultimately driving population-level obesity. These are direct effects through behavior change because of feeling judged, and indirect effects of social network changes based on stigmatizing actions and decisions by others, psychosocial stress from feeling stigmatized, and the structural effects of discrimination. Importantly, women and children appear especially vulnerable to these mechanisms. The broader model provides an improved basis to investigate the role of stigma in driving the etiology of obesity, and explicates how individual, interpersonal, and structural dimensions of stigma are connected to variation in health outcomes, including across generations.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 08/2014; 118C:152-158. · 2.56 Impact Factor