The Health Consequences of Weight Stigma

Depressed lonely fat woman sitting and looking through the window at home

The Health Consequences of Weight Stigma

Unfair treatment because of one’s body weight is common and associated with poor psychological outcomes. Our work documents that the negative outcomes associated with weight discrimination are not limited to psychological outcomes.

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Purpose


Specifically, we have found that although weight discrimination is often justified on the basis that it will motivate people to lose weight, the evidence suggests otherwise: Experiencing weight discrimination is associated with increased weight gain over time. Weight discrimination is also associated with many other aspects of physical health, including greater chronic disease burden, elevated c-reactive protein, dementia, and ultimately premature mortality. Our work aims to better understand the mechanisms that explain why weight discrimination leads to these poor outcomes to try to disrupt its harmful effects on health.

Relevant Publications


  • Sutin, A. R., Stephan, Y., Gerend, M. A., Robinson, E., Daly, M., & Terracciano, A. (2020). Perceived weight discrimination and performance in five domains of cognitive function. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 131, 109793. Doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2019.109793
  • Sutin, A. R., Stephan, Y., Robinson, E., Daly, M., & Terracciano, A. (2019). Perceived weight discrimination and risk of dementia. International Journal of Obesity, 43, 1130-1134. Doi: 10.1038/s41366-018-0211-1
  • Sutin, A. R., Stephan, Y., & Terracciano, A. (2015). Weight discrimination and risk of mortality. Psychological Science, 26, 1803-1811. Doi: 10.1177/0956797615601103

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