Weight stigma is a pervasive problem in society today, and it has been linked to a variety of physical health outcomes, healthcare utilization, and health behaviors. Recent research has shown that there are associations between enacted weight stigma, weight self-stigma, and multiple physical health outcomes, healthcare utilization, and selected health behaviors.
Enacted weight stigma is defined as the discrimination and prejudice experienced by individuals due to their weight. This can include being treated differently or unfairly because of one’s weight, or being the target of negative comments or jokes. Weight self-stigma is the internalization of these negative messages and beliefs about one’s body and weight.
Studies have shown that enacted weight stigma is associated with poorer physical health outcomes, including higher levels of depression, anxiety, and body dissatisfaction. It has also been linked to poorer self-reported health, lower levels of physical activity, and higher levels of unhealthy eating behaviors.
In addition, enacted weight stigma has been associated with lower levels of healthcare utilization. This includes lower rates of preventive care, such as cancer screenings, and lower rates of seeking medical care for physical health issues.
Finally, enacted weight stigma has been linked to higher levels of weight self-stigma. This can lead to further physical health issues, such as increased risk of obesity, as well as psychological issues, such as lower self-esteem and higher levels of depression and anxiety.
Overall, the research suggests that there are associations between enacted weight stigma, weight self-stigma, and multiple physical health outcomes, healthcare utilization, and selected health behaviors. This highlights the need for interventions to reduce enacted weight stigma and its associated negative health outcomes. Such interventions could include education and awareness campaigns, as well as policies and laws that protect individuals from weight-based discrimination.