Weight Stigma Resource Hub

Welcome to our Weight Stigma Resource Hub. This dedicated page on the Food Active website hosts a collection of our existing materials, as well as signposting to other excellent organisations and resources to help tackle weight stigma.
Weight stigma refers to discriminatory acts and ideologies targeted towards individuals because of their weight and size.
This hub will be regularly updated, please get in touch with us if you would like us to feature your resources on this hub.

Food Active’s Statement on Weight Stigma

We recognise that obesity is not simply influenced by what an individual chooses to eat or how much physical activity they participate in. It is far more complex than this, with biological, genetic, social and environmental factors playing a significant role in the causation of obesity.

We believe it is therefore unjust to place the blame of obesity at the door of the individual, creating a stigmatising narrative that obesity is a simply an outcome of lifestyle choices. These types of attitudes towards those living with obesity can result in significant harm to both mental and physical health.

We believe that weight stigma should not be tolerated in today’s society, and a person’s body size should not influence how they are treated and how they are made to feel.

Food Active therefore aims to address weight bias and discrimination through the following actions:

  • Work with our local authority network to help prevent weight stigma and raise awareness of the complexities of obesity within council departments, commissioned weight management services and elected members.
  • Share good practice on local initiatives, policies or campaigns to eliminate weight stigma from a range of different settings.
  • Produce resources that can help to communicate the importance on eliminating weight stigma, and how this can be achieved.
  • Lobby national government to ensure future health policies focus on the wider determinants and shift away from a simplistic narrative on reducing obesity. Ensure campaigns and communications encourage person centred language and stigma-free imagery (supporting the Obesity Health Alliance’s 10-year healthy weight strategy)

Food Active Resources and Tools

Please get in touch with us if you have any ideas or suggestions on useful resources to develop.

This checklist has been designed to give the writer, trainer or health and social care professional the confidence and tools to examine whether the content of an article, training package, blog, policy paper or report is free from stigmatising language, stereotypes and images.

This presentation provides an overview of weight stigma, where it can be found, discuss the evidence base and actions to eliminate weight stigma from our own practice. The PowerPoint presentation is accompanied by delivery notes and should take roughly 30 minutes to deliver, plus time for questions and discussion.

At the #FoodActive2021 conference in November 2021 we discussed what we can all do to eliminate weight stigma, hearing from a wide range of academics, charities and lived experience. This Conference Hub contains a full recording of the event, and speakers presentations.

This briefing was developed to provide further information on weight stigma and discrimination to support the Local Authority Healthy Weight Declaration. However, it can also be used as a standalone reference document for weight stigma and its consequences on the public’s health.

Our weight stigma position statements aims to provide an overview of the issue, providing a rapid review of the current evidence-base, considering the policy context and finally outlining our position and what we will do to try help eliminate weight stigma.

Guest Blogs and Case Studies

Holly Campbell is a Public Health Improvement Coordinator at Doncaster Council, and is currently leading on the Compassionate Approach to Weight across the borough. In this case study Holly will provide detail on how they went about this approach, how it has changed their current systems and any key learning along the way.

Gemma Holdsworth is a Healthy Families Specialist and Jill Harrison is Healthy Families Practitioner based within the Healthy Families team, which is community service within the 0-19 years Integrated Health & Wellbeing Service, Bolton NHS ft. They presented their Health Gains approach at the #FoodActive2021 Conference and have kindly submitted an indepth case study to share more detail about their approach and how they went about it.

Angela Chesworth is a passionate patient advocate on obesity, and in this guest blog she shares her experience of living with obesity throughout her life, and what action she would like to see to help reduce weight stigma and discrimination.

Alison Millbourn, Public Health Manager at Kirklees Council blogs for Food Active to share details about the council’s weight neutral and compassionate approach in their bid to reduce the prevalence of obesity locally.

Dr James Nobles of the University of Bristol and Dr Stuart Flint of the University of Leeds blogged for Food Active to mark World Obesity Day 2018, sharing their top 5 pieces of advice for addressing weight stigma.

Stigma Free Image Banks and Media Galleries

Please ensure you read the Terms of Use for these banks/galleries, and credit all usage appropriately. 

World Obesity’s Image Bank forms a gallery of free-to-use images to ensure accurate, non-biased, respectful images are widely available. Please ensure you read their guidelines and terms of use.

EPCO Media

The European Coalition of People Living with Obesity’s image bank aims to raise awareness of the damage that can be done by stigmatizing images in the media by offering free-to-use content.

The Rudd Center Media Gallery is a free resource offering a range of images of people living with obesity, free from stigmatisation. Please ensure you read and agree to the following Terms of Use before accessing the videos/images in the Media Gallery.

The Obesity Action Coalition offers more than 500 bias-free images for non-commercial use only. The purpose of this gallery is to help refocus the perception of obesity, and change the perception of individuals affected by this chronic disease.

Obesity Canada have created an Image Gallery that provides a collection of photographs that individuals with obesity in ways that are positive and non-stereotypical.

Healthcare Resources

Obesity UK have launched a resource to help educate clinicians around having conversations with people living with obesity.

Developed by the World Obesity Federation, this module gives an overview of how to structure weight management discussions, including establishing positive conversations and avoiding common pitfalls if weight is a sensitive topic. The module is suitable for all primary care clinicians.

The Rudd Center has produced an educational video to educate healthcare providers about weight bias. Please note that these videos are owned by the Rudd Center.

Media Resources

The Obesity Action Coalition is encouraging all media, bloggers and others to utilize People-First Language in their writings. Check out this useful guide to help you start using this language.

These guidelines are broad and apply to a range of media, including, but not limited to, both print and broadcast journalism, entertainment television and film, Internet media, and advertising.

This report from the World Obesity Federation report shines a light on the media’s role in perpetuating weight stigma, and aims to encourage writers, journalists, editors to create accurate and fair reports of obesity

Children, Young People and Families Resources

This resource is aimed at supporting health or care professionals
who feel they may benefit from guidance and examples on how to initiate conversations about weight management with families, and refer into weight management services where appropriate.

These guidelines are broad and apply to a range of media, including, but not limited to, both print and broadcast journalism, entertainment television and film, Internet media, and advertising.

This video, hosted by celebrity and activist Emme and featuring Rudd Center experts including Dr. Rebecca Puhl and Dr. Kelly Brownell, uses expert commentary and dramatic representation to address the obstacles that overweight and obese youth encounter with weight bias.

Policy Resources and Tools

This inquiry and policy paper have been developed by the secretariat of the APPG on Obesity and finalised with the officers of the APPG. In this paper we set out the actions the Government should undertake to build on its strategy.

This strategy has been developed by the Obesity Health Alliance and outlines tangible recommendations for structural policies that can support the UK population to achieve a healthier weight over the next ten years. This includes extensive recommendations on the impact of obesity stigma on public policy, and how this can be addressed.

This video, hosted by celebrity and activist Emme and featuring Rudd Center experts including Dr. Rebecca Puhl and Dr. Kelly Brownell, uses expert commentary and dramatic representation to address the obstacles that overweight and obese youth encounter with weight bias.

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