Sizable Issues
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October 2, 2013

What happens when patients with obesity internalize societal weight prejudice?

Bias and stigma against individuals who are overweight or obese has been well documented in the scientific literature, and is becoming increasingly recognized as a significant societal problem. In fact, reports of weight discrimination in the United States have increased by 66%, and are comparable (an in some cases even higher) than reports of racial discrimination, especially among women. Individuals who experience weight stigma or discrimination are at increased risk for a range of negative health consequences, ranging from depression and anxiety, to unhealthy eating behaviors and even avoidance of health care services. 


Posted By: rebecca puhl  

July 24, 2013

New Study Finds that Weight Discrimination Increases Risk of Obesity

A new study published today in PLoS One1, is one of the first longitudinal studies to demonstrate that weight discrimination is associated with becoming obese. The study, conducted by Sutin and Terraccinao at Florida State University Colleg...

Posted By: rebecca puhl  

July 17, 2013

Boy Scouts and BMI: A Controversial Policy from the Boy Scouts of America

This week, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) appeared in the >national news for implementing a new policy for this year's 2013 National Jamboree, which will exclude scouts from participating at the event if they have a BMI of 40 or ...

Posted By: rebecca puhl  

June 17, 2013

Teen Turns Story About Weight-Based Bullying into Film about Self-Acceptance

In the past few years, there has been increasing national attention to the problem of bullying among youth. In response to this significant social problem, many social media campaigns have emerged in an effort to support youth who are bullied by their peers.

As a researcher who studies weight bias, it's been concerning to see a lack of attention to weight-based bullying in the national ...

Posted By: rebecca puhl  

April 11, 2013

When Physicians Are Overweight or Obese, What Do Their Patients Think?

For several decades, research has shown that health providers often harbor negative stereotypes toward their patients who have excess weight or obesity. Common perceptions among providers include assumptions that these patients are lazy, sloppy, non-compliant with treatment, lacking willpower and discipline, and dishonest. Patie...

Posted By: rebecca puhl  

March 13, 2013

How Are Obese Persons Portrayed in News Media?

One needs to look no further than the mass media to see how socially acceptable weight stigma has become in our society. In television, films, and magazines, we see obese persons portrayed in stigmatizing ways, as the target of humor and ridicule, engaging in stereotypical behaviors like binge-eating or eating junk food, and rar...

Posted By: rebecca puhl  

January 17, 2013

Weight Bias (Still) Exists in University Admissions…Especially for Women

Two new studies have examined whether weight bias occurs in the university admissions process, both of which have concerning implications for young women. The first study, forthcoming in the journal Obesity by Burmeister and colleagues (2013), examined whether BMI of graduate school applicants was related to the quality of their letters of recommendation and the number of admissio...

Posted By: rebecca puhl  

December 11, 2012

The Biggest Loser: Researchers are Paying Attention

To date, one of the most popular reality television shows in America is The Biggest Loser. While the premise of the show (to promote significant weight loss among its contestants) is clearly apparent, the show has come under

Posted By: rebecca puhl  

November 13, 2012

Weight Bias is as Pervasive Among MDs as in the General Population

A new study, published last week in PLoS ONE, shows that medical doctors exhibit negative weight bias toward individuals who are overweight. The study aimed to determine the pervasiveness of negative attitudes about overweight among doctors, and sampled 2,284 MDs who completed both implicit and explicit att...

Posted By: rebecca puhl  

October 26, 2012

Provocative PSA encourages adults to protect youth from bullying

As October (and "anti-bullying month") comes to an end, it's worth taking a look at this new provocative anti-bullying PSA that was recently highlighted on CNN.

This public service announcement is targeted towards adults, with the g...

Posted By: rebecca puhl  

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About This Blog

Sizable Issues is a blog featuring timely research findings and provocative commentary about the stigma and prejudice related to obesity -- also known as "weight bias" -- and its implications for healthcare and quality of life for people struggling with weight.

Disclosure: Rebecca M. Puhl, PhD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

  • rebecca puhl

    Rebecca Puhl, PhD is the Deputy Director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Yale University. As a clinical psychologist, she has treated patients with eating disorders, binge-eating, and obesity. As a Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Puhl has been studying weight bias for ten years, and has published studies on the prevalence and origins of weight stigma, interventions to reduce weight bias, and the impact of weight stigma on emotional and physical health. Dr. Puhl serves as chair of the Weight Bias Task Force of The Obesity Society (TOS), and is an editor of the book Weight Bias: Nature, Extent, and Remedies (Guilford Press, 2005). To read more about her research, visit

The content of this blog does not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of Medscape.
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