Last week on October 21st, our partners at the European Coalition for People Living with Obesity (ECPO) hosted a live webinar as part of their #LivingWithObesity awareness day campaign. The webinar focused on sharing patient perspectives about weight bias and obesity stigma, leveraging the national stigma work of countries and associations across Europe, and advocating for the global adoption of People-First Language for obesity.

What is People-First Language?

Since People-First Language was a major highlight of this successful awareness day that reached across the globe, here at OAC, we wanted to dig a little deeper to explain what People-First Language means and how it works.

People-First Language is a concept that puts someone before their disease rather than letting the disease define them. For years, other chronic diseases (such as those in the mental health and disability communities) have adopted People-First Language and encouraged its usage in all reporting and general messaging.

For example, today we see language such as:

  • “The man with diabetes was elderly” vs “The diabetic man was elderly.”
  • “Individuals affected by schizophrenia are considered to have a mental illness” vs “schizophrenics have a mental illness.”

Here are some examples of how to use People-First Language for obesity:

  • “The woman was affected by obesity” vs “The woman was obese.”
  • “This man has obesity and wants to seek help from his doctor” vs “The obese man wants to seek help from his doctor.”

To learn more about People-First language, Click Here for OAC resources.

Working Together to End Weight Stigma

People-First Language is an important step in the global fight to end weight stigma, but as ECPO demonstrated, there are more steps we can take:

  • Listen to and share the lived experiences of people with obesity
  • Raise awareness of weight stigma in all the places it exists – the media, healthcare, employment, classrooms, in our local communities, and even in our own social circles
  • Train healthcare providers about the disease of obesity how they can work with patients so they feel comfortable and empowered
  • Local, state, national, and global advocacy

Looking Ahead

Like ECPO, OAC is engaged in the global fight against weight stigma and committed to creating a better world for people affected by obesity.

In the coming months, OAC will kick-off a special project focused on weight bias that you can take part in to help take action on this important issue. Stay connected for updates as we start rolling them out!

To learn more about ECPO, Click here.