Weight stigma and health: whose problem is it?
The experience of stigma has been shown to have direct harmful effects on health. A growing body of research indicates that weight stigma is prevalent throughout society, including in academic and employment contexts, and in the news and entertainment media. Yet despite rising levels of anti-fat prejudice in all areas of daily life, discrimination on the basis of weight is generally not covered by anti-discrimination legislation, and weight stigma appears to be one of the last socially acceptable prejudices.
Importantly, high levels of weight stigma have also been identified in a wide range of both student and qualified health professionals, including doctors, nurses, dieticians, and exercise professionals, all of whom are likely to have important contact opportunities with obese individuals. This is of critical importance as experience of stigma in a health setting has been shown to reduce treatment adherence, efficacy, and avoidance, with preventive programmes (e.g. breast and cervical cancer screening) in particular being under-utilised. In addition, weight stigma is associated with reduced, rather than increased, engagement in healthy behaviours.
The study of weight stigma is a rapidly developing area of research, of wide general interest, and likely to have a significant impact on future health and social policy. The first ever dedicated weight stigma conference will bring together a multidisciplinary range of academics and clinicians, from areas including psychology, medicine, public health, allied health professions, education, sports and exercise science, social sciences, media studies, business, public policy, and the law.
We are accepting abstracts for oral and/or poster presentations on subjects related to weight-associated stigma, including, but not limited to:
- Weight stigma in health professionals
- Impact of weight stigma on health and wellbeing
- Stigma in society
- Public policy implications
- Legislation addressing weight-based discrimination
- Interventions to reduce weight stigma.
Presentations on new and emerging research in other areas pertaining to anti-fat bias are also welcome. Students are especially encouraged to submit proposals. All abstracts should be submitted using the form on the website.
Abstract submissions for 2013 are closed.
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Please contact Angela Meadows (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.