Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Adults Face Similar Experiences of Weight Stigma

Individuals who experience weight stigma are commonly stereotyped as lazy or lacking willpower, and they can face unfair treatment because of their weight. Some individuals who experience weight stigma may also internalize these negative attitudes, blaming and devaluing themselves and having lower self-worth because of their weight. While there has been increasing attention to this issue by researchers and health professionals, weight stigma has received almost no attention in sexual minorities despite increased rates of obesity and higher risk for stigma among this population. 

The study focused on more than 18,000 US adults enrolled in the WW program (formerly Weight Watchers) who completed surveys about their experiences of weight stigma, health behaviors, and quality of life. In total, 658 participants who identified themselves as a sexual minority were compared to 658 participants who identified themselves as heterosexual, matched on characteristics of sex, race, body weight, age, and education. Findings showed that regardless of sexual orientation, more than two-thirds of respondents reported experiencing weight stigma at some point in their life.