Log in

Member login

Not a member? Join here.

Weight Stigma Awareness 

Weight Stigma Awareness Week (WSAW) began as an initiative of the Binge Eating Disorders Association in 2011, with the intention of raising awareness about the harmful impact of weight stigma and weight discrimination.

What is Weight Stigma?

"Weight stigma refers to the social devaluation, denigration and marginalisation of people who are fat". (Calogero, Tyler & Menginger (2016). 'Scientific Weightism: A View of Mainstream Weight Stigma Research Through a Feminist Lens').

Weight Stigma is "the unequal or unfair treatment of people because of their weight". (Puhl (2001). 'Bias, Discrimination, and Obesity'. in Obesity Research9).

You can read more about Weight Stigma in this article by HAES Australia President, Dr Carolynne White and Dr Natalie Jovanovski - Weight Stigma 101.

HAES Australia supported Weight Stigma Awareness Week 2020 by encouraging our members and friends to:

  • learn about weight stigma
  • recognise where and how weight stigma shows up in our communities and culture, and
  • take action to fight against weight stigma 

We will shared messages for WSAW 2020 across our social media channels, and we encourage members to share these messages and take part in the conversation.

About the founder of Weight Stigma Awareness Week, Chevese Turner

The week from 28th September to 2nd October 2020 is Weight Stigma Awareness Week. Each day, we will be posting about the many aspects of weight stigma which aim to increase our awareness about the many harms of weight stigma to raise awareness and offer ideas about how we can ALL make a difference in optimising care for all people, in all bodies. Before we launch into the week, we want to pay respect and tribute to the founder of Weight Stigma Awareness Week, Chevese Turner, a tireless advocate, colleague and friend to many of us.

Chevese founded the Binge Eating Disorder (BEDA) in 2008 after identifying a need for greater advocacy for individuals affected by binge eating disorder (BED) and the providers who treat them. She speaks often about her own experiences of weight stigma, and the need for recognition of and access to care for those with eating disorders in all bodies. It is largely through the work of BEDA under Chevese’s leadership that Binge Eating Disorder was finally recognised as an official eating disorder diagnosis in 2013 and that since this time, people with BED have had greater access to care and funding streams.

Chevese is a tenacious advocate and has helped to directly name one of the most under-acknowledged variables in health and wellbeing – weight stigma. She also helped set in motion one of the most incredibly important articles about weight bias in health professionals when she encouraged Dr Rebecca Puhl, a weight bias and stigma researcher with the Rudd Center (Yale University), to survey eating disorder treatment professionals about weight bias. The results, although perhaps unsurprising, point to the work that lies ahead of us in healthcare to first address weight bias in healthcare providers to provide inclusive, respectful and high quality healthcare across all body sizes.

We recognise that there is still a lot of work to be done, and HAES Australia are an advocacy organisation committed to changing the conversation. Learn more about us on our homepage.

All forms of weight stigma are forms of injustice and can significantly impact the health and wellbeing of people in larger bodies. Here are some examples of how weight stigma might show up in different settings.

If learning about Weight Stigma has left you wanting to take action, consider one or more of the following…

  • Keep learning. You can continue your education on social media by following the hashtags #weightstigma, #weightstigmaawareness, and #HAES
  • Actively support organisations, businesses and programs that provide inclusive, stigma free options for people in larger bodies. This may be a clothing brand, an entertainment venue or community program
  • Advocate for positive, diverse representation of people with a range of body shapes and sizes. This may mean contacting a business or organisation and asking for them to provide accessible options for people in larger bodies
  • Boycott and unsubscribe from any channels, businesses, organizations or programs that perpetuate weight stigma or suggest changing one’s body shape or size as a solution. You may also choose to explain why you will no longer be supporting them or using their services
  • Consider joining HAES Australia. HAES Australia support, connect and promote professionals, researchers and organisations in health, fitness and wellness fields who/which practise a weight-neutral, non-diet, client- centred approach to wellbeing aligned with HAES. HAES Australia aims to increase professional and public awareness of weight-neutral, non-diet, client-centred practice and research outcomes.

Acknowledgement of Country

HAES Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waters, where we live, work and play.  We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

We commit to ongoing learning and growth as we become an inclusive and diverse community.

Looking for something?

Follow us on social media:

Contact us: 


PO Box 201,


Qld 4120

HAES Australia Inc is an Incorporated Association registered with the Queensland Office of Fair Trading, IA41314

ABN: 69738175815

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software