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The Obesity Society


The Obesity Society

Subject Keywords: The social consequences of being overweight and obese
Topic: Obesity
Region: International (other)

The social consequences of being overweight and obese are serious and pervasive. Overweight and obese individuals are often targets of bias and stigma, and they are vulnerable to negative attitudes in multiple domains of living including places of employment, educational institutions, medical facilities, the mass media, and interpersonal relationships.

Stigma and bias generally refer to negative attitudes that affect our interpersonal interactions and activities in a detrimental way. Stigma may come in several forms, including verbal types of bias (such as ridicule, teasing, insults, stereotypes, derogatory names, or pejorative language), physical stigma (such as touching, grabbing, or other aggressive behaviors), or other barriers and obstacles due to weight (such as medical equipment that is too small for obese patients, chairs or seats in public venues which do not accommodate obese persons, or stores which do not carry clothing in large sizes).  In an extreme form, stigma can result in both subtle and overt forms of discrimination, such as employment discrimination where an obese employee is denied a position or promotion due to his or her appearance, despite being appropriately qualified.



Rights: © The Obesity Society
Suggested citation:

The Obesity Society. (2014) The Obesity Society [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 16th February 2019].


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