Weight stigma is prevalent and consists of stereotypes, internal and external bias. Children and adolescents may experience long-term health consequences after experiencing weight stigma. Holistic interventions have better long term results than interventions focused on weight loss. Stakeholder engagement is crucial to influencing organizational and community approaches. Successes and challenges of obesity initiatives in Philadelphia were explored from a de-stigmatization and anti-weight bias lens. We conducted semi-structured conversations with Philadelphia stakeholders, asking about their professional experience, their personal approach to discussing weight, and ideal interventions to address weight stigma. We identified commonalities between stakeholder conversations and provided public health oriented and evidence-based recommendations. Eight stakeholders from varying professions participated between March 1, 2022 and April 13, 2022. Stakeholders represented academic, healthcare, mental health, and community organizations. The six most prominent concepts were; changing focus, leadership from within, community resources, social determinants of health, language preference and sociocultural identities, and training: past and present. Despite awareness of community resources to combat food insecurity, behavior change remained the main focus of obesity-related interventions. All stakeholders who are engaged in child and adolescent life have the capacity to support better physical and emotional outcomes for the next generation. Social determinants of health, genetic predisposition, and environmental justice stand in the way of eliminating obesity, but only bias stands in the way of delivering compassionate care to children and adolescents.
Waldman, Lauren, "The State of Weight Stigma in Philadelphia: Improving Child and Adolescent Experiences" (2022). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 431.