Rudd Center Media Gallery:
Combating Weight Bias in the Media
People with obesity are highly stigmatized in the United States and suffer from inequalities in employment, education, and health care as a result of weight discrimination. Studies show that in addition to the mainstream media, the news media is an especially pervasive source of stigmatization against persons with obesity. A Rudd Center content analysis of videos that accompany online news found that 65% of videos paired with online news stories about obesity stigmatize adults with overweight or obesity, and 77% of videos stigmatize youth with overweight or obesity. Another Rudd Center content analysis of online images in new stories found that 72% of photographs paired with online news stories about obesity are stigmatizing toward individuals with obesity. News photographs and videos tend to portray individuals of higher weight as headless (i.e. only from the shoulders down), from unflattering angles (e.g. with only their abdomens or lower bodies shown), and engaging in stereotypical behaviors (e.g. eating unhealthy foods or engaging in sedentary behavior). These images degrade and dehumanize individuals with obesity, while spreading false assumptions and oversimplifying the complex issue of obesity.
In an effort to reduce stigmatizing portrayals of persons with overweight and obesity in the news, we have created a Media Gallery that provides a collection of brief, professional video clips and images that depict individuals with obesity in a variety of settings. These images and video clips provide a non-biased representation of adults with overweight and obesity, and are intended for use as background and b-roll video footage for the news media. Our Media Gallery can help promote accurate coverage of obesity-related topics in news reporting and challenge harmful weight-based stereotypes.