As obesity became a more prevalent issue in the United States in the late 1980s, the term ‘weightism’ was born. ‘Weightism’ is a bias or discrimination against people who are overweight. According to USA Today, approximately 28% of men and 45% of women who are severely obese have experienced discrimination because of their weight. Negative views and actions against these individuals begin early in life and continue into adulthood. According to the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, a study revealed that negative views on overweight people can develop in children as young as three years old, who assigned characteristics such as “lazy,” “dirty,” “stupid,” “ugly,” “liar,” and “cheat” to overweight peers.
Even in cartoons, characters that are overweight are oftentimes portrayed as less intelligent, unattractive, and unpopular. Negative views of overweight children are manifested in bullying and harsh treatment, which has led to problems such as depression, low self-esteem, negative self-image and suicide.
Although ‘weightism’ begins in childhood, it does not stop after adolescence. It affects adults in the workplace and can affect overweight people who are looking for new employment. The rising cost of healthcare benefits often affects overweight people when companies look for ways to cut expenses. According to the Texas Tribune, in March 2012, the Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, Texas created a policy to only hire candidates with a body mass index of less than 35.
While is it is always important to love who you are, no matter your size, Black Fitness Today is here as your resource to help you achieve your goals and live a healthy lifestyle.
Miyairi, M., & Reel, J.. (2011). Combating Weight Bias Among Adolescents in School Settings: A Sport and Exercise Psychology Perspective. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 82(8), 50-53.
Robinson, T., Callister, M., Sc Jankoski, T. (2008). Portrayal of body weight on children’s television sitcoms: A content analysis. Body Image, S, 141-151.