American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement Calls For Improved Care, Advocacy to Address Weight Stigma

Being teased or bullied about weight is one of the most common reasons that youth are victimized, and these experiences have serious consequences for emotional and physical health. With high rates of overweight and obesity in America’s youth, millions are vulnerable to weight stigma and its harmful effects.

In response to this widespread problem, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued its first policy statement on weight stigma. The academy’s policy, published today in Pediatrics, seeks to raise awareness about the negative effects of weight stigma on youth, and provides clinical practice and advocacy recommendations for health professionals to help reduce weight stigma in the medical setting and the broader community. “This policy statement is a call to action to encourage pediatric professionals to address weight bias as part of their efforts to improve the quality of life for vulnerable youth and adolescents,” said Rebecca Puhl, an author of the policy statement. Puhl is Deputy Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, and Professor of Human Development and Family Studies.