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Obesity affects millions of people worldwide. These individuals are not only at risk of serious medical complications, they also face a pervasive form of social stigma and discrimination.

Our expert panel of academics, medics and activists presented on the prevalence and health impacts of weight-based stigma in healthcare and beyond. They also challenged the misconceptions around body weight regulation and explained why obesity cannot be solved only by eating less and exercising more.

This workshop followed an international consensus conference and paper in Nature Medicine 'the Joint international consensus statement for ending stigma of obesity'

Join us and over 100 scientific organisations; sign the pledge to help eradicate weight-based stigma and discrimination and pledge to treat individuals with overweight and obesity with dignity and respect.

Find out more


Introduction: Prevalence and causes of weight stigma
Prof. Francesco Rubino, MD
Chair of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery; Kings College London
Consultant (Hon) Surgeon, King’s College Hospital, London UK
[Recording | Slides]

The stigma of diabetes
Danielle Roe
Engaging Communities and Volunteering Operations Manager
Diabetes UK
[Recording | Slides]

Stigma in the media and workplace
Stuart W. Flint, PhD
Associate Professor of the Psychology of Obesity, University of Leeds
Honorary Academic for the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (DHSC), UK Government
[Recording | Slides]

Lived experience of obesity stigma
Vicki Mooney
Executive Director
European Coalition for People living with Obesity (ECPO), Spain

Mechanisms of body weight regulation: science vs myth
Prof. Lee M. Kaplan, MD
Professor and Chief, Section on Obesity Medicine,
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, USA

Stigma in healthcare
Adrian Brown, PhD RD
Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics, Centre of Obesity Research, UCL
Chair of the Specialist Obesity Group, British Dietetic Association, UK
[Recording | Slides]

Panel discussion and Q&A: Priorities and actions to tackle weight stigma
- Marta Koch PhD,
Editor in Chief, Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, UK
- Sarah Le Brocq,
Founder and Director, All About Obesity CIC, UK
- Talha Burki, Freelance Journalist, UK
- Prof. Rachel Batterham OBE, MBBS, PhD, FRCP, Senior Vice President, International Medical Affairs Eli Lilly and Co., Honorary Professor of Obesity, Diabetes & Endocrinology, University College London, UK

Animation: Ending the stigma of obesity

This animation is a visual representation of the paper 'Joint international consensus statement for ending stigma of obesity', published in Nature Medicine.
It explains the harms of weight stigma, some biology behind weight regulation, and why obesity cannot be reversed by diet and exercise alone. 

We encourage you to share the full animation to raise awareness and help end weight stigma. 

The animation is being used in a research study for which it has been split into two sections i) the mental and physical harms of weight stigma (empathy), and ii) the mechanisms of weight regulation (biology), both of which can be viewed and downloaded. 

You can also download the image below of the animation overview.   

overview of obesity stigma animation

Workshop Speakers

Francesco Rubino

Professor Francesco Rubino is Chair of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at King’s College London and Honorary Consultant at King’s College Hospital. He is internationally recognised as one of the world’s leaders in research, teaching and practice of metabolic and weight loss surgery. Professor Rubino’s translational and clinical research significantly contributed to the development of metabolic surgery as a treatment of type 2 diabetes. He has also been the director and main organiser of the Joint International Consensus Conference on the Stigma of Obesity.


Danielle Roe

Danielle Roe is the Engaging Communities and Volunteering Operations Manager at Diabetes UK. She specialises in involving people with lived experience of long term health conditions to develop meaningful and impactful services.

Danielle has previously worked at other national health charities such as the British Lung Foundation, where she worked with people with lung diseases to understand attitudes towards conditions such as asthma and COPD. At Diabetes UK, Danielle has worked with colleagues to develop the organisation’s first long term approach to understand and address diabetes related stigma. She has an interest in internalised stigma, systemic bias within healthcare systems and impact measurements of interventions to address stigma.

She has most recently co-authored a publication on the scale and impact of diabetes related stigma.


Stuart Flint

Stuart W. Flint is Associate Professor at the University of Leeds, President of Scaled Insights and an Honorary Academic for the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), with a specific interest and expertise in attitude and behaviour change, psychosocial aspects of obesity, health-related stigma and discrimination – particularly weight stigma and discrimination - and health inequalities, leading work internationally, nationally and regionally with governments, health systems, education, media, patient advocacy groups and the general population.

Flint has led and contributed to public health policy development, research and evaluation and campaigns with local and national authorities, developing healthcare education globally, in countries including the UK, US, Mexico and in several countries across Europe. He has developed global media and policymaker guidelines to address stigma towards people with obesity in media portrayal and obesity and public health policy. 


Vicki Mooney

Vicki Mooney is a Patient Advocate, Public Speaker, the Executive Director of the ECPO and Chairperson of the Board of ICPO.

Originally from Ireland, now living in Lanzarote, Vicki uses her voice to help address the stigma, bias and discrimination perpetrated against people living with obesity. In addition to working on various projects in Europe and globally to improve access to quality obesity care, management, and education, Vicki also strives to advance obesity prevention efforts across Europe.


Lee Kaplan

Lee Kaplan is director of the fellowship program in Obesity Medicine and Nutrition at Massachusetts General Hospital, director of the Blackburn Course in Obesity Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and chairman emeritus of the Campaign to End Obesity. He currently serves as chair of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Section of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), chair of the Bariatric Surgery Section and chair of the Clinical Committee of the Obesity Society.

Dr. Kaplan’s research is focused on the physiological and molecular mechanisms of gastrointestinal regulation of energy balance and metabolic function, and his group has pioneered the development and use of rodent models for weight loss surgery and gastrointestinal devices to explore these mechanisms. He is the author of more than 150 scientific and medical papers, including in The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, Science Translational Medicine, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Gastroenterology, and the American Journal of Human Genetics.


Adrian Brown

Dr Adrian Brown is a NIHR Advanced Fellow and Senior Research Fellow/Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics in the Centre of Obesity Research at University College London and programme co-lead of the MSc Dietetics (Pre-registration) course at UCL. He is also a Senior Specialist Weight Management and Bariatric dietitian with over 17 years of clinical experience and a PhD in Medicine from Imperial College London.

His research interests centre around obesity, type 2 diabetes, bariatric surgery, food insecurity and sustainability in people living with obesity, the use of formula-based diets in different patient populations, weight stigma in people living with obesity and weight-based terminology in healthcare. With his NIHR Advanced fellowship focussing on weight loss in people living with obesity and kidney failure on haemodialysis prior to kidney transplant.

Dr Brown is Chair of the Specialist Obesity Group for the British Dietetic Association, an Honorary Academic for Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, on the board of Trustees for the Academy of Nutrition Science, the strategic council for APPG on Obesity, Steering Committee for Obesity Empowerment Network and the scientific council of the British Nutrition Foundation. He is also an Associate Editor for Clinical Obesity.


Marta Koch

Marta Koch began her research career at the Porto Oncology Institute, Portugal, in 2000. She holds a masters in Public Health from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine and doctorate degree in biomedical sciences from The University of Leuven, Belgium. She carried out postdoctoral training at the University of Leuven and at The Scripps Research Institute, USA before moving into the publishing world. She has been a professional editor since joining the journal Cell in 2015. Marta joined the Lancet group in 2018 as the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of EClinicalMedicine. She has been serving the diabetes and endocrinology communities as Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology since early 2019.


Sarah le Brocq

Sarah Le Brocq has a unique skillset of living with obesity, a background in science, 16 years’ experience working in the pharmaceutical industry, alongside the NHS and 6 years’ experience being a trustee/Director of an obesity charity.

She is the Founder and Director of All About Obesity, which aspires to be the equivalent of Diabetes UK in the obesity space.

Sarah is known as a Thought Leader, has a wide network of relationships with key obesity stakeholders and supports a number of integrated care systems (ICS) refine their weight management strategies and patient pathways. She is well known in the media and is regularly called upon to give her thoughts and expertise around current obesity affairs.

She sits on the strategic council for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Obesity, is a stakeholder in NHSE’s National Obesity Audit, a lay member of the NICE Weight Management Committee and the Digital weight management technologies for specialist weight management services, and a representative on the Obesity Health Alliances (OHA) Healthy Weight Strategy, lived experience group.

She has also co-authored a number of published academic papers in scientific journals.


Talha Burki

Talha Burki has worked as a science writer for almost two decades. In that time, he has written hundreds of features for The Lancet and its specialty journals, such as The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. He has written several features on obesity, including on its designation as a chronic, relapsing disease by the European Commission, and reviewed books about the food system in the UK and elsewhere


Rachel Batterham

Professor Rachel Batterham is Senior Vice President, International Medical Affairs, Obesity for Eli Lilly and Company. She is an honorary Professor of Obesity, Diabetes and Endocrinology at University College London (UCL) and an honorary Consultant at University College London Hospital (UCLH).

Prior to joining Eli Lilly, she was head of the UCLH Bariatric Centre for Metabolic Surgery and Weight Management, the Director of the Director for the UCLH/UCL National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre Obesity Research Theme, led the UCL Centre for Obesity Research and was the Royal College of Physicians’ Special Advisor on Obesity.

She is passionate about reducing the stigma that people with obesity experience and ensuring that the patient voice is heard and established a charity for people affected by obesity, Obesity Empowerment Network UK.


Event details

The Great Hall
King's Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS