Cross-Party Parliamentarians launch guidelines on obesity

A group of cross-party Parliamentarians has endorsed a new set of guidelines to reduce weight stigma.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Obesity is today launching the guidelines at a parliamentary conference ahead of World Obesity Day. The guidelines are designed to support Parliamentarians to communicate and work in a non-stigmatising manner relating to obesity.

These are the first guidelines developed to give direction to MPs and Peers on how to speak about weight in a positive manner with constituents and in debates, and to reduce the levels of stigma faced by many of their constituents. The guidelines will help Parliamentarians to speak about body weight in a respectful and constructive manner and to help facilitate open and productive conversations on how to best support people with obesity.

The launch of these guidelines is supported by a new survey conducted by the APPG on Obesity. The survey found that people living with obesity face high levels of stigma which impacts their lives in work, leisure, their personal relationships and their likelihood to seek medical advice from their GP.

Results included:
1. 89% of people with obesity have felt stigmatised, criticised or abused as a result of their obesity.
2. 71% of people with obesity felt stigmatised when seeking health advice or support.
3. 90% of people with obesity said more understanding around obesity would make them more comfortable seeking care.
4. 80% of people with obesity thought there is a link between the way policy makers speak about obesity and the prioritisation of weight management services.

Mary Glindon MP, Chair of the APPG on Obesity, said: “Current efforts to reduce obesity simply aren’t working. The APPG has found that weight stigma acts as a barrier to people with obesity seeking help and getting treatment. These guidelines will help MPs to lead the way in changing the way we speak about obesity, help to promote a wider understanding of the complexities of obesity, and will help us move away from damaging stereotypes. Reducing obesity is not necessarily all about eating less and moving more."

View the full press release here

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