If you answered yes to any of these questions, you couldhave a bias against people who are overweight or have obesity.
Do you assume a person’s health,characteristics, behaviours and abilities arebased on their body size, weight and shape?
People come in different sizes and shapes.
Body size, weight and shape are not directlyassociated with a person’s health, work ethic,willpower, intelligence or skills.
Do you think that everyone with a largerbody size or a higher BMI has obesityand needs to lose weight?
Obesity is a chronic disease defined as excess orabnormal weight that impairs health. BMI is anindicator of size, not health. Not everyone witha large body size or high BMI has obesity.
Do you believe people with obesity arepersonally responsible for their condition?
Many people think obesity can be controlled by simply eating healthierand being more active. But more than 300 factors contribute to obesity,ranging from physiological and psychological factors to genetic, social andenvironmental factors. Many of these are beyond an individual’s control.
Do you let negative commentsabout someone who has alarger body size or has obesitygo unchallenged?
Calling attention to inappropriate,blaming or shaming jokes,comments or conversations aboutpeople with obesity or largerbody size is important to reducesuch behaviour.
Do you avoid being around peopleyou think have obesity?
Many people avoid being aroundpeople with obesity due to negativesocial stereotypes. But people withobesity can be as ambitious, strong-willed, active, disciplined, attractive,quick, strong, secure and confidentas anyone else.
Weight bias is everywhere. And sometimes we may have it
without knowing it. These questions can help you become more
aware of your attitudes and beliefs about weight and obesity.
Yes No 1 2
Dr. Mary Forhan, PhD, is an assistant professor, Dept. of Occupational Therapy,Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta. Ximena RamosSalas is a public health doctoral candidate at the University of Alberta andmanaging director of the Canadian Obesity Network.
Checking your attitude
Test your assumptions
WRITTEN BY XIMENA RAMOS SALAS AND MARY FORHAN