Children with high body weight are vulnerable to weight bias. This means that they may be the target of negative attitudes in the form of stereotypes, prejudice and unfair treatment because of their weight. Weight bias can be expressed in different ways, such as verbal comments (e.g., name-calling, derogatory comments, and teasing), physical aggression (e.g., being pushed, shoved, kicked, and bullied), and social exclusion (e.g., being avoided, ignored, and excluded by others).
It can be difficult to know what to do as a parent if your child is being teased or bullied because of his or her weight. Before talking to your child, it can be helpful to acknowledge how uncomfortable and difficult it can be for you as a parent to address this issue. Despite the difficulty of the situation, it is important to communicate to your child that teasing is never acceptable, regardless of whether the teasing is directed at appearance, weight, skin color, accent, religion, etc.
Video: Weight Bias at Home & School
The Rudd Center created this video to help parents and teachers understand the severity and impacts of weight bias in school and at home and to present strategies to help combat this rapidly growing problem for overweight teens and pre-adolescents. This video, hosted by celebrity and activist Emme and featuring Rudd Center experts including Dr. Rebecca Puhl and Dr. Kelly Brownell, uses expert commentary and dramatic representation to address the obstacles that overweight and obese youth encounter with weight bias.