Media Coverage and Obesity

For the next “Bias Busters” issue, the OAC would like you to voice your opinion regarding imagery used in recent media reports on the disease of obesity.

In early May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new report on obesity in the United States. Throughout the past several weeks, thousands of news articles were published on this report and the topic of obesity. The majority of these articles use stigmatizing photos of individuals affected by obesity, usually photos of an individual taken from behind, or headless images, such as the above image. We want YOU to speak out, and help “Bias Busters” put a stop to this!

When you see stigmatizing photos of individuals affected by obesity accompanying news articles, the best way to take action is to contact the publication by writing a letter to the editor. On most news publication Web sites, you can send a letter to the editor by visiting the “Contact Us” page, which can be found toward the bottom of their Web page. We have drafted a sample letter which you can use as a template.

Dear Editor,

The article titled ________ featured stigmatizing images of individuals affected by obesity. I encourage you to not use this type of imagery. For a resource with appropriate images, please visit the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity’s image gallery at www.yaleruddcenter.org. The use of inappropriate images only further perpetuates weight bias. I thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Thank you,

[Insert Name]

We have to put a stop to the use of stigmatizing images of individuals affected by obesity in the media. All it does is further perpetuate the stigma individuals affected face on a daily basis. Help fight weight bias today by contacting the publications that use stigmatizing images. Together, we can make a difference!



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