Tampa, Fla. – Today, the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and The Obesity Society (TOS) released newly-drafted guidelines aimed at educating media representatives on how to appropriately discuss the disease of obesity in the media. The guidelines focus on areas of journalistic reporting such as conducting balanced coverage of obesity, using people-first language to describe individuals with obesity, selecting appropriate imagery and avoiding weight-based stereotypes.
“The OAC believes the media should treat obesity just like any other disease. Too often, news articles will portray obesity in a manner that really dehumanizes individuals with this disease,” said Joe Nadglowski, OAC President and CEO.
The media is an influential source of information about obesity; it shapes public understanding and attitudes about this important health issue. From newspapers to network news, obesity has become a fixture of daily headlines throughout the United States. While this certainly raises the profile of obesity and its serious health implications, media representatives often unknowingly depict obesity, and those affected by it, in a negative light.
“Considerable evidence shows that the media often reinforces negative weight-based stereotypes, perpetuating societal bias toward children and adults affected by obesity,” said Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director of the Rudd Center. “These new media guidelines offer multiple strategies to promote appropriate, non-stigmatizing reporting of obesity, and call upon media representatives to give careful consideration to language and images used in their reporting of obesity.”
“The Obesity Society is proud to endorse these guidelines to ensure we talk about obesity with respect for the people affected,” said Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA, Advocacy Advisor for TOS and Chairman of the OAC National Board of Directors. “We’re hopeful that the media, policy makers and the public will take note: the use of people-first language shows respect for those affected. By setting bias aside, we enhance our efforts to treat and prevent the disease.”
About the OAC
The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), a nearly 50,000 member-strong National nonprofit organization, is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals affected by the disease of obesity through education, advocacy and support.
About the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity
The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity is a nonprofit research and public policy organization devoted to improving the world’s diet, preventing obesity, and reducing weight stigma. For more information, visit www.yaleruddcenter.org.
About The Obesity Society
TOS is the leading professional society dedicated to better understanding, preventing and treating obesity. Through research, education and advocacy, TOS is committed to improving the lives of those affected by the disease. For more information visit: www.Obesity.org.