School of Medicine
Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology | Social Psychology and Interaction
OBJECTIVE: Pervasive weight stigma and discrimination have led to ongoing calls for efforts to reduce this bias. Despite increasing research on stigma-reduction strategies, perspectives of individuals who have experienced weight stigma have rarely been included to inform this research. The present study conducted a systematic examination of women with high body weight to assess their perspectives about a broad range of strategies to reduce weight-based stigma.
METHODS: Women with overweight or obesity (N = 461) completed an online survey in which they evaluated the importance, feasibility and potential impact of 35 stigma-reduction strategies in diverse settings. Participants (91.5% who reported experiencing weight stigma) also completed self-report measures assessing experienced and internalized weight stigma.
RESULTS: Most participants assigned high importance to all stigma-reduction strategies, with school-based and healthcare approaches accruing the highest ratings. Adding weight stigma to existing anti-harassment workplace training was rated as the most impactful and feasible strategy. The family environment was viewed as an important intervention target, regardless of participants' experienced or internalized stigma.
CONCLUSION: These findings underscore the importance of including people with stigmatized identities in stigma-reduction research; their insights provide a necessary and valuable contribution that can inform ways to reduce weight-based inequities and prioritize such efforts.
Discrimination, stigma, weight bias
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Copyright © 2017 The Authors.
DOI of Published Version
Obes Sci Pract. 2017 Mar;3(1):25-35. doi: 10.1002/osp4.101. Epub 2017 Feb 8. Link to article on publisher's site
Obesity science and practice
Puhl RM, Himmelstein MS, Gorin AA, Suh YJ. (2017). Missing the target: including perspectives of women with overweight and obesity to inform stigma-reduction strategies. Open Access Articles. https://doi.org/10.1002/osp4.101. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/oapubs/3100
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