Weight Bias & Stigma

Despite increased attention to the obesity epidemic, little has been done to stop the bias and discrimination that children and adults with obesity face every day. The social consequences of obesity include discrimination in employment, barriers in education, biased attitudes from health care professionals, stereotypes in the media, and stigma in interpersonal relationships. All these factors reduce quality of life for vast numbers of people with overweight and obesity, and have both immediate and long-term consequences for their emotional and physical health.

The Rudd Center aims to stop the stigma through research, education, and advocacy. We’re working to draw attention to weight bias and develop strategies to address the issue with various groups, including young people, families, teachers, employers, and health care professionals.

Featured Resources

Educational Resource for Medical Professionals
The Rudd Center has developed online educational resources for health care providers to improve the quality of care for patients with obesity, and help reduce weight stigmatization in clinical settings. For clinicians working with this patient population, this resource equips them with strategies to improve provider-patient communication, make positive changes in the medical office environment, and increase awareness of personal biases that could unintentionally compromise patient care. In addition, the Rudd Center has created two online learning modules for the World Obesity Federation to further educate providers about the consequences of weight bias for health and healthcare. These modules also highlight the importance of addressing weight bias in broader health communication beyond the medical office setting. 
American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement Addressing Weight Stigma
Media Resources
Online Toolkit
Rudd Policy Brief
Presentations by Rebecca Puhl