What is Weight Stigma?
"Weight stigma refers to the social devaluation, denigration and marginalisation of people who are fat". (Calogero, Tyler & Menginger (2016). 'Scientific Weightism: A View of Mainstream Weight Stigma Research Through a Feminist Lens').
Weight Stigma is "the unequal or unfair treatment of people because of their weight". (Puhl (2001). 'Bias, Discrimination, and Obesity'. in Obesity Research, 9).
You can read more about Weight Stigma in this article by HAES Australia President, Dr Carolynne White and Dr Natalie Jovanovski - Weight Stigma 101.
We will be sharing messages for WSAW 2020 across our social media channels, and we encourage members to share these messages and take part in the conversation.
About the founder of Weight Stigma Awareness Week, Chevese Turner
The week from 28th September to 2nd October 2020 is Weight Stigma Awareness Week. Each day, we will be posting about the many aspects of weight stigma which aim to increase our awareness about the many harms of weight stigma to raise awareness and offer ideas about how we can ALL make a difference in optimising care for all people, in all bodies. Before we launch into the week, we want to pay respect and tribute to the founder of Weight Stigma Awareness Week, Chevese Turner, a tireless advocate, colleague and friend to many of us.
Chevese founded the Binge Eating Disorder (BEDA) in 2008 after identifying a need for greater advocacy for individuals affected by binge eating disorder (BED) and the providers who treat them. She speaks often about her own experiences of weight stigma, and the need for recognition of and access to care for those with eating disorders in all bodies. It is largely through the work of BEDA under Chevese’s leadership that Binge Eating Disorder was finally recognised as an official eating disorder diagnosis in 2013 and that since this time, people with BED have had greater access to care and funding streams.Chevese is a tenacious advocate and has helped to directly name one of the most under-acknowledged variables in health and wellbeing – weight stigma. She also helped set in motion one of the most incredibly important articles about weight bias in health professionals when she encouraged Dr Rebecca Puhl, a weight bias and stigma researcher with the Rudd Center (Yale University), to survey eating disorder treatment professionals about weight bias. The results, although perhaps unsurprising, point to the work that lies ahead of us in healthcare to first address weight bias in healthcare providers to provide inclusive, respectful and high quality healthcare across all body sizes.
We recognise that there is still a lot of work to be done, and HAES Australia are an advocacy organisation committed to changing the conversation. Learn more about us on our homepage.