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Do you know what weight stigma is? Or how it impacts health regardless of a person’s size/shape/or weight? Weight stigma is a health equity and public health issue that leads to disparities in health outcomes, healthcare access, education, employment, health insurance, and many other areas. Weight-stigma is more than just the negative attitudes, actions, and assumptions based only on weight, shape, or size of a person, it’s also a structural oppression, a social determinant of health, and for many, a chronic traumatic experience that leads to negative health experiences across the lifespan. This learning event will provide an overview of weight stigma as a health issue, including definitions, data, health impact, and real-life examples of structural weight bias. It will also provide tools to reduce exposure to weight stigma, challenge your weight bias, and move away from weight as a measure of health for your benefit, and for the benefit of those you find in your care.
Krista Handfield, LICSW is a health equity and justice-oriented professional with expertise in weight stigma and size-inclusive practices. Currently, her role is the Director of Size-Inclusive Health at a large community health center in Rhode Island, where she developed and implemented the first large-scale size-inclusive health equity initiative. Krista also serves as a state Commissioner for RI's Commission for Health Advocacy and Equity. Krista has many years of experience as a conscious leader, social activist, and artist whose work is rooted in the equitable treatment of people living in larger bodies, women, LGBTQ+, and other vulnerable populations. She is certified in Child and Adolescent Trauma-informed care. Krista also created a free resource for people in RI to connect to HAES and weight inclusive resources, called SHAPEcenterRI.com. She provides support, consultation, training, and education on weight stigma to professional, academic, wellness, and healthcare organizations.