Weight Stigma In Adults

Weight stigma refers to the negative attitudes, beliefs, and stereotypes towards individuals based on their body weight or size. NO WEIGH! empowers people to stand up against medical weight stigma. 

Medical weight stigma impacts...

Patient care

Can lead to delayed or missed diagnoses, failure to investigate, or harmful treatmtent decisions

Patient trust

Patients struggle to trust and communicate with their doctors, and often try to avoid them.

Health outcomes

As a result, medical weight stigma is an independent risk factor for illness and worse outcomes

The vulnerable

Fat people are excluded from mainstream society and already struggle to access healthcare

Combat Weight Stigma When You Say

NO WEIGH!

"I do not wish to discuss my weight..."

By refusing to discuss weight, patients are asking their doctors to stop stigmatising them and focus on their needs, concerns and expectations instead.

"I do not consent to discussing weight loss..."

Since intentional weight loss is unsustainable, harmful and ineffective at improving health, refusing to discuss it ensures doctors investigate and treat patients without discrimination.

"I do not consent to being weighed..."

Being weighed is a stigmatising experience, and most of the time it is completely unnecessary. Refusing to be weighed reduces stigma and takes the focus off weight.

What does medical weight stigma look like?

Medical weight stigma can present in so many different ways. From lack of basic equipment and stigmatising posters in the waiting room, to blaming a person's symptoms on their weight and missing their underlying cancer. Here are a few ways in which Fat people experience weight stigma in the medical consultation. 

"It's a two-tiered system. If you're thin, your doctors will take you seriously. If you're fat they will blame everything on your weight."
"How can I trust my doctor to take care of me if they don't care about me or respect me because of my size?"
"I'd rather stay home and suffer than take my chances with a doctor who is just going to blame everything on my weight anyway."
"I went in to see my doctor because I sprained my wrist. He was more interested in talking about weight loss. How will that help my wrist?"
"I told them I was getting breathless. They told me to eat less and exercise more. Turns out I was anaemic because of bowel cancer."
"The doctors refuse to operate on my endometriomas because of my higher risk, but they want me to consider a gastric bypass. Huh?"
"The other day the nurse got angry with me because she didn't have a blood pressure cuff in my size. I cried afterwards. Why is it always like this?"
"I injured my knee playing football in my teens. Now I need a knee replacement but I have to lose weight first. What choice do I have?"
"I need an MRI but there's a weight limit and I'm too heavy. They blame me when my condition gets worse but they refuse to treat me!"

A Note About Language

The term "Fat" is used as a neutral descriptor, which has been co-opted by the Fat community and does not carry any negative connotations. It is used interchangeably with the term "higher weight individual". 

The words “ov*rweight” and “ob*se” are always censored because they are harmful and stigmatizing terms that incorrectly pathologize and medicalize bodies based solely on their size.

What are you doing to combat weight stigma?

If you're a healthcare provider then opting for weight inclusive care will ensure that your patients are treated fairly and without discrimination. Together we can improve the lives of Fat people who are struggling to access healthcare. 

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