Journal Article

Obesity, stigma and public health planning

Lynne MacLean, Nancy Edwards, Michael Garrard, Nicki Sims-Jones, Kathryn Clinton and Lisa Ashley

in Health Promotion International

Volume 24, issue 1, pages 88-93
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI:
Obesity, stigma and public health planning

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Given the rise in obesity rates in North America, concerns about obesity-related costs to the health care system are being stressed in both the popular media and the scientific literature. With such constant calls to action, care must be taken not to increase stigmatization of obese people, particularly of children. While there is much written about stigma and how it is exacerbated, there are few guidelines for public health managers and practitioners who are attempting to design and implement obesity prevention programs that minimize stigma. We examine stigmatization of obese people and the consequences of this social process, and discuss how stigma is manifest in health service provision. We give suggestions for designing non-stigmatizing obesity prevention public health programs. Implications for practice and policy are discussed.

Keywords: obesity; stigma; public health planning

Journal Article.  3163 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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