50px

Fatphobia

50px
Bloc texte

Stigma based on body size is called fatphobia.

It manifests itself in different ways: in everyday relationships, through interactions with the medical profession, in the media, or in population-based interventions targeting obesity.

" Stigma stops people from reaching their full potential. And we as a society are poorer for that."

Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada1

25px
Bloc texte

Weight-based prejudice

Fatphobia is fueled by stereotypes and negative prejudices that target people whose weight is considered too high. Additionally, it is often rooted in a lack of awareness and education about the complex factors that influence body weight2. In Québec3:

  • More than half of the population think that fat people are not fit, don’t do enough physical activity and eat too much and poorly.
  • 37% of adults believe that fat people have poor self-control.
  • 18% of adults believe that fat people are lazy.
50px
Bloc texte

Health impacts

Fatphobia is not without consequences for the health and well-being of the population. It is associated with 2,4-6:

  • Decreased sense of self-efficacy;
  • Low self-esteem;
  • Poor body image;
  • Difficulties with social integration;
  • Increased risk of developing eating disorders;
  • Increased risk of using food as an emotional management strategy (particularly to reduce stress);
  • Reluctance to use primary health care;
  • Increased risk of psychological distress (e.g., symptoms of depression, anxiety, etc.);
  • Weight gain, difficulty losing weight or weight fluctuation;
  • Chronic stress on the body which can disrupt certain bodily functions, such as glucose metabolism and cardiovascular function;
  • Barrier to the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits (e.g., reluctance to practise sports in public);
  • Increased risk of mortality.
50px
Bloc texte

To find out more about fatphobia, 

its manifestations and their consequences,

consult our factsheet on fatphobia.

Consult rhe sheet

50px
Bloc texte

Fatphobia and physical activity

Fatphobia can have several negative effects such as low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction and social exclusion, leading to avoidance and loss of interest in physical activity. Certain solutions can be put in place to prevent young people who are overweight from feeling hampered in their practice of physical activity.

Check out our recommendations for schools 

50px
Bloc texte

How to act against fatphobia?

In order to confront fatphobia, we must first become aware of our prejudices and recognize them, and then act to create healthy, safe and inclusive living environments for everyone.

50px
Bloc mini-fiches

Discover our tools on weight stigma and bulllying

 

Healthy Weight-Related Communications Toolkit

Healthy Weight-Related Communications Toolkit

Intended for health professionals, organization spokespersons and communications managers, this toolkit promotes inclusive and non-stigmatizing discourse with regard to weight.

Fatphobia and body image: Tools to intervene better

Fatphobia and body image: Tools to intervene better

“Fatphobia and body image: Tools to intervene better” is a toolbox offered by the Table québécoise sur la saine alimentation that helps promote the development of a positive body image and prevent fatphobia.

Preventing and countering weight-related bullying

Preventing and countering weight-related bullying

A practical guide for teachers and school workers in primary schools in Quebec.

Weight… an obstacle to physical activity?

Weight… an obstacle to physical activity?

An educational guide for physical education and health teachers.

50px
Bloc texte
  1. Tam T. (2019). Lutte contre la stigmatisation : vers un système de santé plus inclusif. Rapport de l’administratrice en chef de la santé publique sur l’état de la santé publique au Canada 2019. Agence de la santé publique du Canada.
  2. Rubino F., Puhl RM., Cummings DE., et al. (2020). Joint international consensus statement for ending stigma of obesity. Nat Med,26(4):485-497. doi:10.1038/s41591-020-0803-x
  3. Léger. (2021). Rapport : Perception du problème de poids au Québec : Sondage auprès des Québécois et Québécoises.
  4. Puhl, R. (2021). Grossophobie : un phénomène mondial aux conséquences néfastes pour tous. The Conversation. Repéré au https://theconversation.com/grossophobieun-phenomene-mondial-aux-consequences-nefastespour-tous-162155
  5. Levy M. (2020). The Relationship between Weight Bias Internalization and Healthy and Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviours. Montréal (QC) : Concordia University.
  6. Sutin AR, Stephan Y, Terracciano A. (2015). Weight Discrimination and Risk of Mortality. Psychol Sci, 26(11):1803-11
50px
Bloc mini-fiches

Other actions

OBESITY

OBESITY

Obesity is a complex issue, influenced by several factors.

Learn more

FATPHOBIA

FATPHOBIA

Fatphobia is a form of discrimination that is harmful to health.

Learn more

PREOCCUPATION WITH WEIGHT

PREOCCUPATION WITH WEIGHT

Preoccupation with weight can lead to unhealthy behaviours.

Learn more

50px