Although the effects of obesity on children’s physical health are well documented, the social consequences of obesity are less well described and may not be addressed in intervention programs.
Weight bias may take several forms. It may result in teasing and discrimination and may affect employment and educational opportunities. Health care providers may limit care of overweight or obese children. The media promote weight bias in multiple ways. Some parents are biased against their obese children. In an effort to avoid weight bias, new efforts to reduce obesity must be evaluated to determine whether these efforts do, in fact, add to the problem. It is important to understand that the weight bias that obese youth face is just as serious as the physical consequences of excessive weight on the welfare of the child.
This article highlights ideas generated and conclusions reached at the Symposium on Ethical Issues in Interventions for Childhood Obesity, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Data for Solutions, Inc.