Newswise — National Harbor, MD: The stares and the sideways glances, the hurled insults and the unsolicited advice. People struggling with obesity endure a daily culture of weight bias and stigma, often internalizing. Many individuals blame themselves for the weight bias stigma and unfair treatment they experience because of their weight. They internalize the fat shaming and discrimination causing an increased risk for additional physical and emotional health issues.

Top researchers, clinicians and surgeons from around the world have gathered for the fifth annual ObesityWeek conference at The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland this week. This weeklong conference includes notable weight bias stigma speakers, sessions and abstracts.

Important weight bias stigma sessions and abstracts this week:

Weight Bias

Speakers: Rebecca M Puhl, PhD; Rebecca L Pearl, PhD; Allison Grupski, PhD

Presenting Wednesday, November 1 8:30-10:00am

Although weight bias and stigma have been more frequently discussed among the obesity community in recent years, several important considerations are rarely discussed. These include weight bias internalization, experimental data on addressing weight bias and practical guidance on minimizing weight stigma and self-stigma. This symposium will elaborate on the relevance of weight bias internalization – external weight bias that mediates part of the relationship between weight bias experiences and adverse health outcomes. Included will be interventional data on clinical treatment for experienced and internalized weight bias and practical considerations and examples for weight bias prevention and intervention in weight clinics and primary care settings.

T-P-3337 The Pain Of Weight-Related Stigma Among Overweight And Obese Women

Authors: KayLoni Olson, PhD; Tyler T Thaxton, BS; Charles F. Emery, PhD

EMBARGO Lifts Tuesday, October 31 12:01am ET

Understanding the relationship between pain and body weight is an important area of research as both conditions are economically costly and interfere with overall health and well-being. Further, weight-related stigma is increasingly a focus of interest due to its negative ramifications for morbidity and quality of life.

“These findings add to the burgeoning literature highlighting the importance of expanding our behavioral interventions for weight loss to address psychosocial elements of excess body weight and especially weight-related stigma in its various forms,” said KayLoni L. Olson, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.


T-P-3449 Getting By With Coping: Coping Strategies Mediate the Weight Stigma-Health Relationship

Authors: Mary S. Himmelstein, PhD; Rebecca M Puhl, PhD; Diane M Quinn, PhD

EMBARGO Lifts Tuesday, October 31 12:00am ET

Few studies explore how individuals cope with the experience of weight stigma. Understanding coping strategies is important because coping strategies can reinforce health problems, like obesity. Coping with weight-stigmatizing experiences by engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors (i.e. exercise, healthy eating) eliminated the relationships between weight stigma and poor health.

“Our results suggest that obesity-related treatments, weight-management programs and health professionals aiming to help individuals who report being stigmatized because of their weight could contribute to the prevention or minimization of some of the negative consequences of weight stigma,” said Mary S. Himmelstein PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

View the full ObesityWeek schedule.

ObesityWeek is open to the media. Press passes are available upon request by emailing Robyn Gordon at [email protected].

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This press release can be published in full or in part with attribution to The Obesity Society.

About ObesityWeek

ObesityWeek is a unique, international event focused on the basic science, clinical application, surgical intervention and prevention of obesity. By combining The Obesity Society (TOS) and American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) annual meetings, ObesityWeek brings together world-renowned experts in obesity to share innovation and breakthroughs in science unmatched around the globe. Attendees will enjoy the diverse educational opportunities, networking events, and scientific synergies created through the collaboration of these leading obesity organizations. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

About The Obesity Society

The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading professional society dedicated to better understanding, preventing and treating obesity. Through research, education and advocacy, TOS is committed to improving the lives of those affected by the disease. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Learn more about industry relationships here.