222687 Weight discrimination as both a consquence and determinant of overweight/obesity

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ashley Graboski-Bauer, MPH, CHES , Emergency Response Team/Public Health Preparedness, Texas Department of State Health Services, El Paso, TX
Nour Abdo, MPH, BVMS, CHES , Department of Health Science, MSC 3HLS, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Ruja Abdo, MVetSci, MPH, BVMS , Veterinary Sciences Laboratory, Jordan Ministry of Agriculture, Raleigh, NC
Stephen Hittner, BA , Family Natural Foods, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Melissa Wilson, BA , AIG Travel Guard, Stevens Point, WI
Introduction: Overweight/obesity (OW/O) disproportionately affects people of low socioeconomic status (LSES); as a result, disparities in health outcomes associated with OW/O are associated with LSES. It has been suggested that these disparities and the disproportionate prevalence of OW/O among LSES individuals are linked to decreased access to healthy foods, medical care, and exercise opportunities. Weight discrimination (WD) is a recognized phenomenon. Potentially, WD could affect employment and social opportunities, thereby reinforcing the poverty cycle and increasing an individual's risk for OW/O. The present study analyzed WD as both a determinant and consequence of OW/O and its implications for social justice in public health.

Methods: Existing data was collected from secondary sources and analyzed using a variety of methods. Analysis assessed the legal status and consequences of WD and WD disparities in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, wage, employment, and law.

Results: WD is a pervasive public problem, against which current U.S. law offers little protection. WD results in decreased income, employment, and social opportunities affecting financial stability. WD has an extremely negative impact on mental health. Women are disproportionately affected by WD in many ways, although in some instances non-white race may act as a confounding factor.

Conclusions: There is considerable evidence that OW/O can act as both an environmental and social determinant of health. Thus, there is an urgent need to promote consideration of WD in OW/O intervention planning. Interventions addressing WD on either a patient or societal level may increase the efficacy of other OW/O interventions.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Define weight discrimination. Describe the effects of weight discrimination. Describe disparities in weight discrimination and in its effects.

Keywords: Obesity, Social Inequalities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary author of this research and have an extensive academic and professional background in public health and the social sciences research and work.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.