To Stigmatize or Not to Stigmatize? The Myth That Claims Stigmatization of Obesity in Public Health Interventions Could Bring Health Benefits


While the policies targeting to prevent obesity ‘epidemic’ which have potential to lead to weight based stigmatization became prevalent, some ideas as stigmatization of obesity will encourage the people with obesity to lose weight claimed. On the other hand, the literature about adverse effects of the labeling and stigmatization of people with obesity is growing increasingly. Therefore the aim of the first section of this article is questioning the myth, that ‘stigmatization of people with obesity will bring health benefits’, through using literature and discussing the topic in connection with human rights and adverse effects of stigmatization. The second part of this study presents data that was collected to investigate the relationship between having prejudicial attitudes towards obesity (via “GAMS-27 Prejudice Towards Obesity Scale” scores) and supporting stigmatized interventions. Scale scores of the group who supports stigmatized interventions were found significantly higher than the group who doesn’t. The mean score for whole sample which was determined as 86.93 is parallel with the literature which claims existence of high level of stigmatization towards obesity. It is obvious that there is a need for policies which emphasize the importance of health for individuals regarding psychological, physiological and social areas of life instead of highlighting body shape and weight. As a result, it can be said that the findings and the related literature are not supporting the myth which attributes benefits to stigmatization.


Community based health interventions appearance culture discrimination negative attitudes stigmatization of obesity community health human rights