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The Stigma of Obesity: A Review and Update
Puhl, R, & Heuer, C

Obesity (2009) doi:10.1038/oby.2008.636

Obese individuals are highly stigmatized and face multiple forms of prejudice and
discrimination because of their weight (1,2). The prevalence of weight discrimination
in the United States has increased by 66% over the past decade (3), and is comparable
to rates of racial discrimination, especially among women (4).  Weight bias translates
into inequities in employment settings, health-care facilities, and educational institutions,
often due to widespread negative stereotypes that overweight and obese persons are
lazy, unmotivated, lacking in self-discipline, less competent, noncompliant, and sloppy (2,5–7).
These stereotypes are prevalent and are rarely challenged in Western society, leaving overweight
and obese persons vulnerable to social injustice, unfair treatment, and impaired quality
of life as a result of substantial disadvantages and stigma. 


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