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Perceived weight-related stigma, loneliness, and mental wellbeing during COVID-19 in people with obesity: A cross-sectional study from ten European countries

It is well established that people with obesity face stigma and discrimination in many aspects of their lives. This can lead to social isolation and loneliness, which can in turn, lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these problems for many people with obesity. In a recent study, researchers from ten European countries surveyed people with obesity about their experiences during the pandemic.

The findings showed that the participants felt more isolated and lonely during the pandemic than they did before. They also reported feeling more stigma and discrimination than before. These experiences were associated with worse mental wellbeing.

The study highlights the need for interventions to address the mental health needs of people with obesity during the pandemic. These interventions should focus on reducing stigma and discrimination, and increasing social support.

Most research on the mental health effects of obesity has been conducted in Western countries. The current study aimed to examine the associations between perceived weight-related stigma, loneliness, and mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic in people with obesity living in ten European countries. An online cross-sectional survey was completed by 1,156 adults with obesity (body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m²). The results showed that perceived weight-related stigma was associated with poorer mental wellbeing, even after adjusting for sociodemographic, health-related, and behavioral factors. Loneliness was also found to be a significant predictor of mental wellbeing. These findings suggest that interventions to reduce stigma and loneliness might be effective in improving mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic in people with obesity.

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