Canadian Summit on Weight Bias and Discrimination

Quick note today to let people know about an event taking place next week.  On Monday, January 17, the Canadian Obesity Network (CON) will be hosting the first Canadian Summit on Weight Bias and Discrimination.  Our friend Arya Sharma has done an excellent job of discussing Weight Bias, so for a quick overview I suggest his posts on weight bias among medical students, the effects of weight bias on body weight, and how to determine whether you have weight bias.

Here is a brief overview of the issue from the description of Monday’s event:

Weight bias and discrimination is widespread among the public, health professionals, media, policy makers and employers.  Overweight and obesity are often viewed as the result of making poor choices, or a lack of willpower and self control, and not as the complex conditions they are.

The direct implications for the health of those struggling with excess weight are profound.  Discrimination can be increase vulnerability for depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, suicide, eating disorders, an avoidance of physical activity, poor outcomes in behavioural weight loss programs and a reluctance to seek health care services.

The CON Summit will bring together a number of “thought leaders” to discuss the issue and ways to reduce this discrimination in the future, but unfortunately the event registration is now full.  Luckily, the CON Student and New Professionals are running an online event parallel with the real one. To take part, first watch these three short videos on Weight Bias and Discrimination which were created by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.  Then, visit the CON Student and New Professionals on Facebook or Twitter on Monday, January 17th between 8:00am and 3:30pm EST, where you will be able to share your thoughts and experiences related to weight bias.

Since I don’t know of any pre-determined Twitter hashtags for the event, I’m going to suggest that everyone discussing weight bias on Monday, or any other day, use the hashtag #weightbias, which will make it easier for people to keep track of all the posts in one place (just enter #weightbias in the Twitter Search box to bring up all the posts).

Many of the CON Student and New Professionals Chapters are having local events across Canada, so to find and contact a Chapter (which, like all CON memberships, are 100% free) in your community click here.  As far as I know you do not need to be Canadian or live in Canada to join CON or take part in the event on Monday, so if Weight Bias is something that interests you I would urge you to take part regardless of your geographical location.

And for those who are interested, I have embedded a pdf with the event details below (email subscribers can see it by visiting our website).

Hope to see you all next Monday!


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9 Responses to Canadian Summit on Weight Bias and Discrimination

  1. Datura says:

    Please, reconsider the title of this post. Maybe in your social circles fatphobia is the “last acceptable prejudice”, but in many many social circles hatred of blacks, Jews, gays etc. is still perfectly acceptable. Many of these groups still suffer from both institutional and interpersonal hatred. Weight bias is a very serious issue, but it is far from the last prejudice that people experience.

  2. Ann says:

    As someone who is very much overweight I think this is a really serious issue. Two years ago a new doctor discovered that my hypothyroidism had been seriously undermedicated for ten years, in spite of me having regular blood tests. I had actually been in to check with my previous doctor because I was struggling so much – after working hard to increase my activity and losing over a hundred pounds in weight the pounds had started to creep back up, and I was not able to walk as much as before. My doctor at the time, overweight himself, had simply told me effectively that I was fat and lazy and wasn’t trying hard enough – even though he had the blood test results that showed a very high TSH.

  3. Aggie says:

    It will take much more than a summit to rid the world of its hatred of fat people. If anything, it is getting worse. Fat folks are blamed for everything from the high cost of living to climate change.

    The contempt that society has for fat people is evident in the plethora of pictures of the “headless fattie”. These are the depersonalized pictures of fat people that appear alongside virtually every story about weight… even here on Obesity Panacea.

    For more on this disturbing trend, see this:

    • Travis says:

      Hi Aggie,

      Could you point to our stories that include these “headless fatties”? I agree the use of those images is a disturbing trend, which is why we have made a concerted effort to avoid them.


      • Aggie says:

        Well, I assumed (my mistake) that the picture with the link at the bottom of this post was yours. It’s the link to the story “Could dieting pollute us?”

        It shows 2 “headless fatties”. So, it does appear on your site, but it isn’t your picture 0r story.

  4. Aggie says:

    Although I doubt you will agree with this woman’s view of obesity and health, you might find her writing interesting:

  5. JM says:

    Believe it or not, i used to get bullied at school – for being skinny. i wonder if that’s why i am overweight now – because the child that was bullied never felt she fitted in anywhere, and used food as a means of at least controlling something in her life.

  6. Randell says:

    It truly is hard to find practiced persons within this matter, nevertheless, you seem like you no doubt know exactly what you are posting on! Many thanks