Weight bias in the media runs deep – but thankfully, there is one less instance of it thanks to a sincere apology from the Journal of Internal Medicine.
First, Getting it Wrong
Earlier in May, an article published by the Journal of Internal Medicine about race and obesity sparked fire among those who instantly recognized it as weight bias.
The article, “Obesity in African Americans: is Physiology to Blame?” was paired with a stigmatizing infographic which appears to be drawn from a movie. It was a clear example of a racial stereotype, accompanied by images of honey and junk food. Both the article title and the infographic seemed to suggest that African Americans are known for eating poor diets, and this is setting them up for weight gain.
In response, the OAC contacted the Journal to point out the biased message and why it was wrong. We also asked for the infographic to be removed, the article adjusted, and for the Journal to give a public apology. You can read the OAC’s letter Here.
Now, Getting it Right
The journal could not have responded more positively! With a listening ear, they wrote the OAC back in a response letter to our members. The Journal apologized for the mistake and quickly removed the infographic, acknowledging that the stigma it created was never intentional. The article is now edited and focuses specifically on the research it tried to share.
The bottom line: action against weight bias works and the OAC needs you in this fight! Whether it’s responding to the media when you see something problematic or pointing out bias in a conversation with a loved one, we need to stand up.
For OAC resources about weight bias in the media, check these out:
- Guidelines for Media Portrayals of Individuals Affected by Obesity
- OAC Image Gallery
- People-First Language for Obesity
For opportunities to take action against weight bias, visit the OAC Action Center at ObesityAction.org/Action-Center/weight-bias-issues.
The OAC is dedicated to improving the lives of millions of Americans affected by obesity, but we need your support. Please consider a donation that will allow us to continue important advocacy efforts like this one. Click Here to support our mission.