You are here

In this section

Weight Bias Information


What is weight bias? 

How might it affect students? 

Take a few minutes to learn about weight bias and what we can do as educators, school staff and parents to prevent weight bias.

What Is Weight Bias?

Weight bias is when a person judges others based on their weight.  Children who are overweight are often targets of weight bias. 1 

We know that . . .

  • Overweight and obese students are more likely to be bullied than average weight students.
  • Teens report that they see teasing about weight more often than any other kind of teasing.

As adults, we can help prevent weight bias.  Take a few minutes to learn what weight bias looks like. Find out how children are affected and what we can do as parents, educators and school staff to prevent weight bias. It’s our job to support our children to be strong, healthy and respectful of themselves and others.

What Does Weight Bias Look Like?

Weight bias shows in the way we think about and treat people who are overweight or obese. 

Young people who are overweight or obese can be the targets of:

  • Name calling
  • Teasing
  • Rumors
  • Being left out of social activities
  • Verbal and/or physical threats
  • Bullying
  • Harmful phone calls, text messages, or e-mails  
  • Harmful or embarrassing posts on social media 

How are kids affected by weight bias? 

The effects of weight bias can be harmful both emotionally and physically.  Weight bias can lead to: 4

  • Low self esteem
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Poor body image
  • Participating less in active play or physical activities at school
  • Engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors like  binge eating 

What Can We Do To Prevent Weight Bias? 

Parents, educators and school staff are an important part of the school community.  As adults, we are in a position to help create a safe, healthy environment where all children can learn and grow.  As a member of the school community we can:

  • Become aware of weight bias.
  • Set rules at home and school to make teasing and bullying of any kind unacceptable.
  • Intervene when we see weight bias in action.
  • Take any reports about teasing or bullying seriously.  Look into them.
  • Examine how our own attitudes and language might show weight bias. 
  • Notice weight bias in the media and help children identify how people are viewed in our culture based on their weight.
  • Make sure the classroom  is comfortable for students of all sizes.
  • Be a role model in the way we treat and talk about other people.
  • Point out and include in lessons and daily conversations, children and adults who are positive role models and represent a variety of sizes, shapes, hair color and race/ethnicities.  

More information for Parents

More information for School Staff