Assertion on the discharge of SBS Documentary “What does Australia actually take into consideration weight problems?”


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Members of the Consuming Dysfunction Alliance of Australia (EDAA) together with Well being at Each Dimension (HAES) Australia, are conscious of a brand new documentary set to broadcast on September 1st, 2021 referred to as “What Do Australians Actually Suppose About Weight problems?”.

The present will air the outcomes of a nationwide survey on attitudes in direction of bigger bodied Australians.

Though the present’s title mentions the time period weight problems, the content material is definitely about how bigger individuals are handled in society, or weight stigma. Regardless of bodily options together with weight being protected traits in Victoria and the ACT, bigger bodied individuals are extremely stigmatised, and expertise common adverse focus within the media.

We commend SBS for elevating consciousness of weight stigma, nonetheless we’re involved that the survey outcomes will probably trigger unintended hurt. We should stay cognisant of the influence elevated consciousness can have on an already extremely stigmatised group. Extra consideration to the problem of weight stigma and prejudice could have the unintended influence of manufacturing additional scrutiny and disgrace, significantly as this documentary begins with airing scientific information which highlights widespread adverse attitudes in direction of bigger folks in Australia.

An article printed by SBS on August twenty fourth to advertise this system described the outcomes of a survey they carried out to grasp the attitudes of Australians in direction of folks with a bigger physique measurement. Within the article, survey responses referring to adverse attitudes in direction of larger weight individuals are described, and framed in language which is pathologising and hostile. An instance of this from the article is that “38% of respondents agreed that overweight our bodies are disgusting.”

Viewing information on widespread adverse attitudes in direction of larger-bodied folks can affirm folks’s fears of being poorly handled as a result of their measurement, or reinforce the parable that physique measurement is determinant of poor well being.

Heightened consciousness of adverse attitudes in direction of larger weight folks might worsen psychological well being, at this significantly troublesome interval throughout the ongoing pandemic and lockdowns. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia has seen a rise in disordered consuming and compulsive train patterns (Phillipou et al., 2020), together with elevated demand for consuming dysfunction remedy.

A very weak group of individuals are larger weight folks with consuming problems. Listening to the message that ‘being massive is unhealthy’ solely additional confirms the ideas of these already combating restrictive consuming problems and will cease them from consuming or discourage the burden restoration that’s essential to assist their restoration. Anorexia Nervosa has one of many highest mortality charges of all psychological diseases, and impacts folks with bigger our bodies who’re simply as unwell as these in smaller our bodies, but that is hardly ever understood.

Quite than problem stigma, using the phrase “weight problems” within the survey and this system is itself stigmatising. “Weight problems” medicalises physique measurement based mostly on the Physique Mass Index (BMI), which is a inhabitants statistic, not a measure of particular person well being. While it’s a generally used time period, bigger bodied folks discover it dangerous and have repeatedly requested for various phrases (Volger et al, 2012).

Even the “Senate Choose Committee Report into The Weight problems Epidemic in Australia” strongly advisable transferring away from utilizing the time period (2018), significantly in discourse involving the general public. The phrase “residing with weight problems” is usually supplied instead, nonetheless as soon as once more this time period implies pathology and rejects physique range: we don’t use phrases akin to “residing with tallness”. Recommendations of much less stigmatising language could also be: larger weight, or bigger bodied (Meadows & Danielsdottir, 2016).

Weight stigma is being more and more recognised as problematic by weight problems researchers, akin to these featured within the documentary, nonetheless this sector nonetheless maintains the place that bigger our bodies are robotically unhealthy. These organisations state that weight stigma is an issue as a result of it stops folks accessing weight reduction remedy. They advocate for wider entry to weight reduction remedies relatively than a real finish to weight stigma.

This positioning of weight stigma is itself inherently stigmatising of upper weight folks because it upholds the central positioning of upper weight our bodies as pathological. Larger weight individuals are not essentially unhealthy. To be able to actually fight weight stigma we should reject pathologising folks on the premise of measurement.

We consider {that a} full understanding of weight stigma as a social justice concern, requiring group actions to get rid of, might have considerably optimistic penalties. In addition to stopping discrimination, an inclusive society that values all our bodies equally, with out pathologising bigger physique sizes, would meaningfully cut back the variety of Australians residing with consuming problems and forestall their growth.

We subsequently request that SBS embody a content material warning initially of this system, and the next Assist and Assist message and get in touch with particulars on the finish of this system to encourage folks to succeed in out for assist if they’ve been negatively impacted by this messaging.

We’re very desirous about supporting SBS and different media shops with messaging round larger weight our bodies and/or consuming problems and disordered consuming, and sit up for your response.

Yours sincerely,

Louise Adams, President, Well being At Each Dimension

Kevin Barrow, CEO, Butterfly

Belinda Caldwell, CEO, Consuming Problems Victoria

Belinda Chelius, CEO, Consuming Problems Queensland

Christine Naismith, Board Director, Consuming Problems Households Australia



For additional info, please contact Breanna Guterres, Communications Supervisor on 0431 717 177 or 


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