Los Angeles, Calif. – Released at this year’s ObesityWeek in Los Angeles, leaders in the field of obesity presented new data that gives a first‐hand look at public views about obesity and how weight bias continues to shape public opinion about the disease. Obesity experts from the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) and the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found that while there is public recognition that obesity‐focused shaming and blaming is wrong, social acceptance of people affected by obesity has declined.
From 2013 to 2015, more than 73,000 adults within the United States completed a series of anonymous, voluntary online surveys assessing their views about individuals affected by the disease of obesity, fat phobia and more. Survey findings suggest that the public increasingly recognizes that obesity is more complicated than a simple problem of personal responsibility; however, this awareness has not translated into improved social acceptance of people with obesity, which instead declined in settings such as the workplace, education, and other areas of life.
“While we were pleased to see that the ‘blame game’ for obesity is declining, we now know that there is still much work to be done in combating weight bias,” said Joe Nadglowski, OAC President and CEO.
Explicit weight bias, measured by the Fat Phobia Scale, remained moderately high and was unchanged between October 2014 and April 2015. Social acceptance of employees, teachers or family members with obesity decreased in the same period.
“Weight bias remains a significant source of harm to people living with obesity and a significant impediment to progress in reducing obesity’s adverse effects,” said Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA, OAC Chairman.
“This study highlights the need for societal‐level efforts to broaden acceptance of people of diverse body sizes,” said Dr. Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director of the Rudd Center.
The OAC is one of the leading organizations combating weight bias and stigma and has published numerous educational resources designed to educate the public on weight bias and help raise awareness of the issue. To learn more about this study, please CLICK HERE to view the full report.
The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), a more than 50,000 member‐strong National non‐profit organization, is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals affected by the disease of obesity through education, advocacy and support.