Weight Stigma in Contemporary Society

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Weight stigma is prevalent in contemporary society. It is a negative attitude exhibited towards overweight or obese individuals through bias and prejudice in response to their perceived excess weight (Wott & Carels’, 2010). Weight stigma is a deleterious perception reinforced through media, medical and educators’ practices, and societal views pertaining to obesity possibly leading to poor selfesteem, low body image, interpersonal problems, depression, and reduced educational and vocational opportunities (Puhl & Heuer, 2009; Wott & Carels’, 2010; Wang, Brownell, & Wadden, 2004; Thomas, Hyde, Karunaratne, Herbert & Komesaroff, 2008). It is hypothesised that weight stigma has a negative effect on the psychological and physical wellbeing of obese individuals with greater episodes of stigmatization resulting in higher rates of depression, increased binge eating and poorer weight loss outcomes. To combat rising rates of obesity a more multidimensional approach looking at individual and socio-cultural dynamics is required (Thomas et al., 2008). The following four psychological reviews attempt to demonstrate and support the hypothesis. Weight Stigma: Psychological and Social Consequences In an Epidemiology review article by Puhl and Heuer (2009), the psychological and physical health consequences of weight bias were examined. The article reviewed current research on the moderating effect of stigmatization on psychological and physical well being. Whilst, as mentioned in the review, most research in this area is still in the emergent stage the research reviewed indicated that weight stigmatization is a potential mediator in the link between obesity and depression, low self-esteem, body image dissatisfaction, and negative consequences pertaining to physical health. It was apparent from the research that it was issues relating to or resulting from the obesity i.e. weight

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