Weight bias in the workplace

Weight Bias Issues

Obesity stigma is a major issue in our society. Weight bias is negative attitudes, beliefs, judgments, stereotypes, and discriminatory acts aimed at individuals simply because of their weight. This type of stigma has negative effects on the victims and we need to eradicate it. When it comes to fighting weight bias and stigma, every voice counts. There are a variety of ways you can get involved in the OAC’s efforts to combat weight bias and stigma:

Tell the St. Paul Saints to Change Their 2024 Mascot Name

HERE’S THE ISSUE: More than 130 million Americans live with obesity, with Minnesota ranking 26th in states impacted by obesity. The Minnesota minor league baseball team, the St. Paul Saints, recently announced the name of their mascot as ‘Ozempig’ and gave the pig a backstory of trying to lose weight. Despite pushback, the baseball team has decided to stick with the offensive name.

The St. Paul Saints mascot name does real harm, reinforcing negative attitudes, beliefs, judgments, and stereotypes that lead to discriminatory acts aimed at individuals simply because of their weight or diabetes status. It is also dehumanizing and damaging, as it causes poor physical and psychological health outcomes and promotes a social norm that marginalizes people with obesity and diabetes. People with diabetes and obesity should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their size or weight, and the St. Paul Saints should change its mascot’s name immediately.

YOUR ASK: Please send a letter to the St. Paul Saints urging them to change the 2024 mascot name immediately.

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New Jersey: Urge Your State Decision Makers to Stop Weight-Based Discrimination

HERE’S THE ISSUE: Over 29% of New Jersey residents are affected by obesity and another 36% by overweight. People with obesity face weight-based discrimination every day, which is detrimental to their physical and mental health, and access to obesity treatments remains fractured because of deep-rooted bias. People with obesity should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their size or weight, and Senate Bill 1602 would ban weight-based discrimination in New Jersey.

YOUR ASK: If you live in New Jersey, please send a letter to key state representatives urging them to support Senate Bill 1602, which will ban weight-based discrimination.

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Urge the FDA to Ensure That All Medications Are Safe and Effective for People with Obesity

HERE’S THE ISSUE: People living with obesity often use prescribed medications for the treatment of various health conditions, like diabetes and high blood pressure. Unfortunately, many medications have not been fully tested on people with obesity. Medications or medical devices may be less (or sometimes more) effective for people with obesity, and this can have real consequences for health and possibly lead to harm.

YOUR ASK: Urge the FDA to ensure that medications are safe and effective for people living with obesity, and that ALL clinical trials include people with obesity.

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Urge Your State Legislators to Expand Access to Care and #StopWeightBias!

HERE’S THE ISSUE: Access to obesity treatments are too often based on your individual health insurance plan or zip code, and only one state has a law banning weight-based discrimination. It’s time to prioritize obesity care in your state!

YOUR ASK: Help us create a better world for people living with obesity by contacting your state representatives today!

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Massachusetts Residents: Take Action Today to Stop Weight Bias!

HERE’S THE ISSUE: Massachusetts could make history by becoming only the second state in the U.S. to make it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of height and weight in compensation, in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, housing, or public accommodations! Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is calling on its members and supporters in Massachusetts to urge decision makers to support Senate Bill 1108 and House Bill 1705 today.

YOUR ASK: Help OAC build support for ending weight-based discrimination in Massachusetts by contacting your representatives today!

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Share Your Personal Story to Help Others Think Differently about Weight and Obesity

HERE’S THE ISSUE: For the OAC, stories are essential for reducing weight stigma and helping others think differently about weight. They build empathy, awareness and understanding. They also put faces behind statistics and help humanize obesity.

YOUR ASK: Use the OAC’s dedicated story-sharing platform, Weight of the World, to share your personal story or experiences that relate to weight and help others think differently about these topics.

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Take the Pledge to Speak out and Challenge Perceptions of Obesity

HERE’S THE ISSUE: Although the disease of obesity affects more than 130 million Americans, it is very misunderstood. False but common perceptions of obesity create weight stigma and can prevent people from getting help and support.

YOUR ASK: Take the pledge to speak out, challenge perceptions of obesity and help improve understanding and support.

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Help Educate the Media to Accurately Represent the Disease of Obesity and the People Affected by it!

HERE’S THE ISSUE: Often times, articles in the media addressing the disease of obesity project weight bias. This bias is most commonly seen through the use of headless images and the use of the term “obese.” When weight bias appears in the media, even if it is unintentional, it has enormous reach. It not only perpetuates the stigmas and bias much of society has, it can have a very harmful impact on individuals affected by obesity. Psychological effects include depression, anxiety and poor body image.

YOUR ASK: Contacting the editors of the top 25 media outlets across the US and asking them to use people-first language and images that do not promote stigma is an important step toward ending weight bias in the media.

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Tweet against weight bias

Past Weight Bias Issues

Looking for tools to help you with taking action on Weight Bias? Click here for helpful resources!