Obesity and weight stigma in the workplace

13 Mar 2023
Elisabeth Morgan

Obesity and weight stigma in the workplace

As part of ASPIREan EU funded project addressing obesity and unemployment in France and England – C3 in collaboration with our ASPIRE partner VIF, has written a practical-guide to help employers better understand and prevent weight based stigma, both in the recruitment process and within the workplace itself. Download the practical-guide for free.

How does the practical guide help prevent workplace stigma?

The guide supports employers and organisations prevent weight-based stigma in the workplace by:

  • Offering insights from individuals with lived experience of weight-based stigma in the workplace. Providing personal stories that give go beyond statistics to the human impact of stigmatisation.
  • Positioning organisations as key actors in developing a more inclusive society as well as benefitting from increased diversity in the workplace.

The practical guide will cover six topics:

  1. Obesity and health: being aware of generalisations
  2. Overweight, obesity and physical ability
  3. Personality traits: judgements and assumptions
  4. Encouraging diversity within teams: an asset for organisations
  5. Progression and promotion opportunities: including employees living with obesity and overweight
  6. Experiencing or observing weight based stigmatisation or discrimination: how to take action

During my career I have received several comments about my size and shape by colleagues such as: “Well if you just move more!” or “Have you tried dieting before?” One colleague remarked “Well, considering you’re a health professional, you’re not much of a role model, are you?” I believe that when you carry additional weight and have a visible disability, people think it’s their duty to inform you about your wellbeing for your own good – they forget that the expert in the room is me. I often feel decision-making in the workplace is based on disability and/or biases.

-Adele, Midwife

Surprising Facts and Figures:

Did you know….

  • Organisations with inclusive teams make better business decisions 87% of the time, twice as fast, with half the meetings – and decisions executed by these teams deliver 60% better results.
  • Evidence shows that a pay disparity exists – employees living with overweight/obesity receive reduced wages even after all other factors are taken into account.
  • The work environment plays a significant role: shift work, working patterns, sleep disorders, stress and sedentary behaviour are all risk factors for overweight/obesity.

Download the practical-guide and learn how you and your organisation can better tackle weight based workplace stigma!

If found this useful why not check out our ASPIRE – toolkit? With resources – including workshop guides, a cookbook and more – that make it easier for people to eat better, move more and take care of their wellbeing.