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Social stigma of obesity is broadly defined as bias or discriminatory behaviors targeted at overweight and obese individuals because of their weight and a high body fat percentage. Such social stigmas can span one's entire life, as long as excess weight is present, starting from a young age and lasting into adulthood. Studies also indicate overweight and obese individuals experience higher levels of stigma compared to other people.
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In addition, they marry less often, experience fewer educational and career opportunities, and on average earn a lesser income than normal weight individuals. Although public support regarding disability services, civil rights, and anti-workplace discrimination laws for obese individuals have gained support across the years, overweight and obese individuals still experience discrimination, which may have detrimental implications in relation to both physiological and psychological health. These issues are compounded by the significant negative physiological effects that are already associated with obesity, which some have proposed may be caused by stress from the social stigma of obesity, rather than from obesity per se.
Anti-fat bias refers to prejudicial assumptions that are based on an assessment of a person as being overweight or obese. It is also known as "fat shaming" or "fatphobia". Anti-fat bias can be found in many facets of society, and fat activists commonly cite examples of mass media and popular culture that pervade this phenomenon.
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