Latest News

Back to Latest News back


World Obesity Day looks to end weight stigma

World Obesity Day looks to end weight stigma
October 11, 2018

Being marked around the planet today, World Obesity Day is calling for an end to the stigma which overweight and obese people experience in their daily lives.

Marked around the world today, 11th October 2018, World Obesity Day is using the term #EndWeightStigma to shine a spotlight on the stigmatising language and images used by the media, healthcare providers and society at large.

Backing up the campaign, health and education researchers from the University of Otago, Victoria University and Massey University have joined forces to raise awareness of the issue.

Lesley Gray, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Primary Healthcare and General Practice at the University of Otago, Wellington; Dr Cat Pausé, a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Education, Massey University; and Dr Caz Hales, a Lecturer in the Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health at Victoria University of Wellington say the bias, discrimination and stigma that fat people experience across all aspects of their lives harms their health.

Gray (pictured below) explains “fat discrimination is pervasive across media, employment, health and school environments.

“We must each play our part to call out discrimination and bias.”

The researchers say Governments should pass legislation to make it illegal to discriminate against fat people while, in schools, teachers need to ensure that stigma against fat people is not reinforced by course materials and in lessons about bodies and health.

Dr Pausé advises “fat stigma contributes to decreased physical and mental well-being for fat people and presents a barrier for fat people to access evidence-based, bias-free healthcare”.

Backing up the message being advanced by World Obesity, the researchers see that the media also has an important role to play when it comes to fat stigma, with stories often containing negative stereotypes about fat people.

Gray says “the image of the headless fatty, a fat person without a head, that often accompanies stories related to fatness, reproduces fat stigma. It allows the reader to consider fat people to be less than human.”

Dr Pausé adds “the media also has a responsibility to tell stories that do not focus on fatness as a problem. Where are the positive stories about fat athletes or CEOs?”

In April, the researchers held a seminar at Otago University, Wellington to educate health and social care professionals on the stigma that fat people face.

Dr Hales says healthcare workers are in a prime position to advocate for people of larger size who require care and support.

World Obesity Day was launched in 2015 to support practical solutions to help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight and to reverse the obesity crisis.

For more information go to

Related Articles

24th September 2018 - Weight Watchers ends use of ‘weight’ in branding

19th August 2018 - VicHealth looks to enhance This Girl Can campaign in regional Victoria

6th August 2018 - Sport Australia launches ‘Move It’ campaign to encourage physical activity

12th July 2018 - Adelaide gym slammed over ‘fat shaming’ promotion

3rd May 2018 - Exploring Successful Weight Loss Programs in Fitness Centres and Clubs

25th March 2018 - Otago researchers reveal childhood predictors of becoming overweight or obese

27th January 2018 - Sri Lankan women take on gym’s ‘body shaming’ ad

20th February 2017 - Strength training carries weight for obese teens

9th January 2017 - Arnold Schwarzenegger tells Australia to ‘Get Off The Couch’ to combat obesity

11th November 2016 - Australian Sports Commission says sport and education key to tackling obesity

22nd May 2016 - China grapples with rise in childhood obesity

25th February 2016 - New industry qualification to combat obesity

21st December 2015 - World Obesity partners with The Lancet to launch new international obesity commission

20th October 2015 - World Obesity Federation launches new award to promote healthy conferences

19th October 2015 - Gym attendance high but barriers to exercise still significant

10th October 2015 - Rise in obesity hits United Nations goals on diet-related diseases

20th January 2015 - Tackling obesity is Queensland’s major health issue

16th January 2015 - Inaugural Global Weight Management Congress to unveil strategies to tackle obesity epidemic

21st December 2014 - Obesity shortens lifespans by ‘up to eight years’

8th October 2014 - New Zealand Minister of Health and Sport to focus on obesity prevention

29th May 2014 - University of Otago research shows ways to prevent drowning deaths

2nd September 2013 - Healthy Canberra Grants provide 2.1 million reasons to reduce obesity rates

22nd August 2013 - Obesity expert Garry Egger to suggest ‘leaking guts’ as a cause of obesity

17th July 2012 - Geelong recognised for obesity prevention

3rd February 2010 - Australian women have highest rising obesity rate

25th September 2009 - Childhood obesity rate continues to rise

9th February 2009 - 24/7 Fitness clubs offer obesity solution

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Clubware’s online gym software is not your run of the mill management system. It has been carefully designed to incorporate all the elements that a fitness club would need. How did we do that?…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Recreation



A leading designer and manufacturer of innovative waterslides and attractions, Australian Waterslides and Leisure (AWL) is also able to advise clients in the areas of concept and design, feasibility…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks



Gladstone Health & Leisure (Gladstone MRM Pty Ltd Australia) is a leading supplier of leisure management and fitness software and is endorsed by leading health and fitness professionals and…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Venues


Goplay Commercial Playground Equipment

Goplay designs and manufactures specialised playground equipment for indoor play centres, hotels, food chains, clubs and resorts. If our years of experience and dedication have taught us one thing,…

read more



Hadley/Series Australia Pty Ltd

Hadley Australia and Series Australia Pty Ltd are the leading quality theatre chair manufacturers in the southern hemisphere. The businesses work closely with architects, interior designers and…

read more

Arts / Culture / Design / Entertainment / Venues


TPEC Pool Enclosures

TPEC Pool Enclosures provide a large range of premium commercial and residential retractable swimming pool, spa and terrace enclosures throughout Australia, servicing residential, local government…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Recreation / Venues



As of 2018, TicketServ operates as SeatGeek Asia Pacific Pty Limited, part of international ticketing platform SeatGeek. Click here to contact SeatGeek Asia Pacific via their entry in…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Events / Sport / Ticketing


The Jump Pad

The Jump Pad is a safe, flat inflatable made in a variety of sizes which can be used indoor or outdoor. From 3mx3m up to a whopping 9mx21m. Markets include Indoor and outdoor playgrounds, schools,…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Play


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business