Millions of Americans face weight bias every day and a new national campaign by the Obesity Action Coalition is tackling the issue.
The campaign aims to educate people about the different forms of weight bias and to remind us to treat everyone with dignity and respect.
“I have to say, I didn't recognize it for a long time. And when I did recognize it, I thought it was okay, because I thought I deserved poor treatment, less respect because of my weight. And it took me a long time to learn that that just isn't true,” said Patty Nece, chairwoman of the Obesity Action Coalition.
Nece says she has experienced the cruelest forms of fat shaming while trying to exercise in public and other, more subtle forms of weight bias.
She encourages people to start by looking at their own bias.
“What do you think when you see someone of my size walk into a room? Do you think, ‘I bet she is an award-winning attorney?’ Probably not. Do you think, ‘she looks good in blue?’ That's OK, but do you ever just think there's another person without any negative judgments,” said Nece.
Weight bias is harmful. It can lead to stress, depression, isolation and unhealthy behaviors. It exists in education, employment, even doctors’ offices.
One first step is recognizing obesity is a complex disease and a lot of people don't have access to proper care to treat it.
You can visit StopWeightBias.com to take a quiz to understand and recognize the problem, as well as learn how to be part of the solution.