Skip to main content

Weight Stigma and Mental Health

Weight stigma refers to social stereotypes and misconceptions about people with obesity. Weight stigma or discrimination occurs when we treat individuals unfairly due to their weight or size. Our researchers explore the beliefs and experiences of individuals living with obesity and investigate the long-term effects of weight stigma and the coping mechanisms that are adopted by individuals to counteract feelings of discrimination. An area of particular interest is the relationship between weight stigma and eating behaviours. Our researchers also examine the relationship between psychological wellbeing, experiences of stigma, and weight outcomes.

Explore our diverse portfolio of current research projects. Employing both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, these projects tackle pressing research questions in the area of Weight Stigma and Mental Health. You can read into each project through the links provided, and discover the innovative approaches and insights driving advancements in our field

Current projects


The ACTION-IO project is the largest study of its kind to investigate barriers to obesity management from the perspective of people with obesity and healthcare professionals. The project involved a multinational, cross-sectional quantitative survey of over 14,500 people with obesity and nearly 2,800 HCPs from 11 countries: Australia, Chile, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, UAE and the UK. It is funded by Novo Nordisk.


The ACTION Teens study is the largest study to investigate awareness, care and treatment of adolescents living with obesity, their caregivers, and healthcare professionals. The project will provide us with valuable insights into the lived experience of adolescents with obesity and their caregivers, and the challenges they and their HCPs face, globally.

Risk factors for internalized weight stigma in adulthood

Internalized weight stigma, the belief that negative obesity-related stereotypes apply to oneself, is associated with poorer health. This project uses questionnaire data and genetic data from an English birth cohort (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, ALSPAC) to explore demographic, socioeconomic, genetic and intergenerational predictors of internalized weight stigma in young adulthood, and also explores health and social consequences of internalized weight stigma in young adulthood.

Pledge - eliminating weight bias and stigma of obesity

This project focusses on the development and impact of an International Consensus Statement and related Pledge for ending stigma of obesity. The consensus statement and Pledge have been developed through a conference jointly organised by the World Obesity Federation, American Diabetes Association, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American Association for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Diabetes UK, European Association for the Study of Obesity, International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders, Obesity Action Coalition, Obesity Canada, The Obesity Society.