Study Shows Self-Directed Weight Stigma is Prevalent in U.S. Adults

Negative stereotypes and biases against people with obesity are widespread and this weight stigma can be harmful for physical and emotional health. Distinct from experiencing weight stigma, many individuals who are targets of bias also internalize the stigma directed towards them, blaming themselves for the stigma and unfair treatment they experience because of their weight. Internalized weight bias has been linked to concerning health consequences, but little is known about the prevalence of this self-directed stigma – until now.

A new study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut shows that internalized weight bias is prevalent among U.S. women and men, with high levels of internalized weight stigma in approximately 1 in 5 adults in the general population and as many as 52 percent of adults with obesity.