Changing the global obesity narrative to recognize and reduce weight stigma: A position statement from the World Obesity Federation

Obes Rev. 2024 Jan;25(1):e13642. doi: 10.1111/obr.13642. Epub 2023 Oct 17.


Weight stigma, defined as pervasive misconceptions and stereotypes associated with higher body weight, is both a social determinant of health and a human rights issue. It is imperative to consider how weight stigma may be impeding health promotion efforts on a global scale. The World Obesity Federation (WOF) convened a global working group of practitioners, researchers, policymakers, youth advocates, and individuals with lived experience of obesity to consider the ways that global obesity narratives may contribute to weight stigma. Specifically, the working group focused on how overall obesity narratives, food and physical activity narratives, and scientific and public-facing language may contribute to weight stigma. The impact of weight stigma across the lifespan was also considered. Taking a global perspective, nine recommendations resulted from this work for global health research and health promotion efforts that can help to reduce harmful obesity narratives, both inside and outside health contexts.

Keywords: global health; obesity; weight stigma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Overweight
  • Social Stigma
  • Weight Prejudice*