Bias, Prejudice, Discrimination, and Obesity
Research is clear in showing that obese individuals are highly stigmatized, and that bias and discrimination are often a consequence (1). Given that half the American population is overweight, the number of people potentially faced with discrimination and stigmatization is immense. The consequences of being denied jobs, disadvantaged in education, or marginalized by health care professionals because of one's weight can have a profound impact on family life, social status, and quality of life. Obese individuals can suffer terribly from this, both from direct discrimination and from other behaviors (e.g., teasing and social exclusion) that arise from weight-related stigma.