Weight Stigma – Shifting Societal Attitudes with Rebecca Puhl, PhD

In Part 1a of her interview, Dr. Rebecca Puhl addresses the prevalence of weight bias not only in our society, but also within the medical world. She discusses the negative effects of weight stigma on women with lipedema and obesity-related diseases, and shares results from recent studies that show this kind of discrimination is active among health care providers. Dr. Puhl notes the fact that awareness of this is the first step toward change, and advocates for patients to stand up for their right to be respected no matter what size their body is. In Part 1b, Dr. Puhl talks about the rise of weight discrimination in recent decades. She links this to cultural values reinforced by the media, lack of education about obesity, and little legislation. Dr. Puhl tells us why cultures that embrace individualism are particularly vulnerable to weight discrimination, which often begins with school-age children. She addresses the fact that legal protection is necessary to significantly decrease weight bias and discrimination, and shares her belief that people can gain ground by standing up for their rights in their own lives and communities. Dr. Rebecca Puhl is Senior Research Scientist and Deputy Director for the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on reducing weight bias in society.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Dalai Lama