The Pervasive Nature of Weight Stigmatization: Implications for Treatment, Public Health and Policy Solutions

Children and adults who struggle with weight are vulnerable targets of stigma and discrimination. Weight stigmatization occurs in many domains of daily living and poses debilitating consequences for psychological wellbeing, social functioning, and physical health. Weight bias additionally leads to unfair treatment including inequities in employment settings, disparities in health care, disadvantages in educational institutions, and damaged interpersonal relationships, all of which contribute to reduced quality of life. This session will summarize the current evidence on this important topic, highlighting recent research about the role that weight stigmatization plays in the development and treatment of eating disorders, its damaging presence in public health campaigns, and potential societal-level strategies and policies that could help reduce this pervasive stigma and prejudice.