Weight Stigma

The right to feel safe, respected and at home in one’s body should be regarded among the most fundamental of children’s rights.

Sigrún Daníelsdóttir, @Healthy Body Image Congress Schweiz

Weight discrimination and stigmatization are normalized in our society, which makes it so insidious and dangerous. Often we do not even recognize them anymore.

Insults, jokes and devaluations against fat people are everywhere. In the media, fat people are depicted in a dehumanized way: headless, eating and lazy.
This lack of awareness of weight stigma has major consequences for fat people and fat children. Especially in families, in education and in medical care.

  • Fatness is the most common reason for teasing and bullying​1​
  • These experience lead to psychological distress and poor physical health​2​
  • Individuals who experiences weight bias may also internalize the bias and direct it toward themselves (weight bias internalization)​2​
  • In the workplace, it leads to less hiring and promotions​3​
  • The teachers’ stigma can lead to lower expectations and ratings​3​

Because it doesn’t matter how much I love my curves, I still will be discriminated.

Sophie Hagen

What is weight bias?


  1. 1.
    Puhl R, Latner J, O’Brien K, Luedicke J, Forhan M, Danielsdottir S. Cross-national perspectives about weight-based bullying in youth: nature, extent and remedies. Pediatr Obes. 2016;11(4):241-250. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26149218.
  2. 2.
    Puhl R, Himmelstein M. Weight Bias Internalization Among Adolescents Seeking Weight Loss: Implications for Eating Behaviors and Parental Communication. Front Psychol. 2018;9:2271. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30519207.
  3. 3.
    Pont SJ, Puhl R, Cook SR, Slusser W. Stigma Experienced by Children and Adolescents With Obesity. Pediatrics. November 2017:e20173034. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-3034
  4. 4.
    Weight bias and obesity stigma: considerations for the WHO European Region. WHO/Europe | Weight bias and obesity stigma: considerations for the WHO European Region. http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/obesity/publications/2017/weight-bias-and-obesity-stigma-considerations-for-the-who-european-region-2017. Published 2017.