Weight Bias, Stigma, and Discrimination

Weight bias includes negative attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, and judgements about individuals based on their weight, shape, or size. 

Weight stigma is negatively stereotyping people based on body weight, shape, or size.

Weight discrimination refers to the unfair treatment of people due to body weight, shape, or size. 

Students who experience weight stigma are more likely to: 

  • Have poor body image and low self-esteem 
  • Have increased stress, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts
  • Suffer from bullying and harassment 
  • Experience social isolation
  • Avoid physical activity and engage in unhealthy eating practices
  • Be assessed differently in school compared to smaller bodied peers (e.g., receive lower grades for similar work) 
  • Have poorer attendance and academic achievement 

Reducing weight bias promotes positive body image and will improve student well-being and success.