Bias, Stigma, and Discrimination

Rebecca M. Puhl

in The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199736362
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Bias, Stigma, and Discrimination

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  • Health, Education, and Welfare



This chapter describes the evidence that men find obese women unattractive, specifically reviewing the evidence of weight bias in multiple settings and its negative impact on quality of life for those affected. It is shown that both overweight men and women are susceptible to weight discrimination in the workplace. Severely obese individuals report more relationship strain and less support from family members compared to thinner peers, and other research illustrates a positive link between body mass index and loneliness, even after controlling for age, gender, annual income, employment, and marital status. The consequences of weight bias include adverse outcomes for emotional functioning, social well-being, physical health, and even public health efforts to address obesity. Despite ample documentation of weight bias in the literature, the amount of research testing strategies to reduce weight bias pales in comparison.

Keywords: weight bias; obesity; weight discrimination; emotional functioning; social well-being; physical health; public health

Article.  8591 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Health, Education, and Welfare

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