Article

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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    • "Very high rates of weight bias are recorded among medical, exercise science, and nutritional professionals, and prevention and treatment approaches to obesity continue to emphasize personal behavior change as the key to weight loss (Bombak, 2014; Foster et al., 2003; Harvey and Hill, 2001; Puhl and King, 2013; Puhl and Heuer, 2009; Saguy, 2013). Profoundly, obese people are as likely to believe, internalize, and project fat stigma as others (Bleich et al., 2013; Greener et al., 2010; Meana and Ricciardi, 2008; Schwartz et al., 2006). "
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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. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.08.003 · 2.56 Impact Factor
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    • "Very high rates of weight bias are recorded among medical, exercise science, and nutritional professionals, and prevention and treatment approaches to obesity continue to emphasize personal behavior change as the key to weight loss (Bombak, 2014; Foster et al., 2003; Harvey and Hill, 2001; Puhl and King, 2013; Puhl and Heuer, 2009; Saguy, 2013). Profoundly, obese people are as likely to believe, internalize, and project fat stigma as others (Bleich et al., 2013; Greener et al., 2010; Meana and Ricciardi, 2008; Schwartz et al., 2006). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
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