Weight stigma, also known as weightism, is prejudice or discrimination against an individual based on their weight. This can manifest in both overt and subtle ways, such as being passed over for a job or being treated rudely. Enacted weight stigma refers to the act of discriminating against someone based on their weight. Weight self-stigma is when an individual internalizes the negative messages about their weight and begins to believe them.
Weight stigma has been linked to multiple negative physical health outcomes, such as higher levels of stress and anxiety, increased blood pressure, and greater risk for developing obesity. Weight stigma has also been associated with poorer health outcomes, such as less likely to receive preventive care and postponing necessary medical care. In addition, weight stigma has been linked to unhealthy weight-management behaviors, such as binge eating and avoidance of physical activity.
There are a number of ways to address weight stigma. One is to increase public awareness of the problem and its negative consequences. Another is to change the way that weight is discussed in the media. Finally, healthcare providers can work to reduce weight stigma in their own practices.
Weight stigma is the discrimination or negative attitudes towards individuals based on their weight. Weight self-stigma is the internalization of weight stigma, whereby individuals believe the negative stereotypes about themselves. Enacted weight stigma is the actual experience of discrimination, while perceived weight stigma is the belief that one will be discriminated against. Both enacted and perceived weight stigma are associated with worse physical health outcomes, including increased risk for obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Healthcare utilization is also worse among those with enacted or perceived weight stigma, as they are less likely to seek preventive care and more likely to experience poorer quality of care. Finally, weight stigma is associated with unhealthy behaviors such as binge eating and avoidance of physical activity.
Weight stigma is a serious public health problem that needs to be addressed. interventions to reduce weight stigma should focus on changing social norms and improving public policies. Healthcare providers also need to be aware of the potential consequences of weight stigma and take steps to reduce stigma in the healthcare setting.