Weight bias and obesity stigma: considerations for the WHO European Region (2017)




What is weight bias and obesity stigma?

  • Weight bias is defined as negative attitudes towards, and beliefs about, others because of their weight. These negative attitudes are manifested by stereotypes and/or prejudice towards people with overweight and obesity.
  • Internalized weight bias is defined as holding negative beliefs about oneself due to weight or size.
  • Weight bias can lead to obesity stigma, which is the social sign or label affixed to an individual who is the victim of prejudice.
  • Obesity stigma involves actions against people with obesity that can cause exclusion and marginalization, and lead to inequities – for example, when people with obesity do not receive adequate health care or when they are discriminated  against in the workplace or in educational settings.