Setting policy priorities to address eating disorders and weight stigma: Views from the field of eating disorders and the US general public

Rebecca M. Puhl, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, S. Bryn Austin, Joerg Luedicke, Kelly M. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


Background: The prevalence and health consequences of eating disorders and weight stigmatization have prompted increasing discussion of potential policy actions to address these public health issues. The present study aimed to assess support for policy strategies to address eating disorders and weight stigmatization among the general public and relevant health professionals. Methods. An Internet survey was fielded to a national sample of 944 US adults and 1,420 members of professional organizations specializing in eating disorders to examine their support for 23 potential policy strategies to address eating disorders and weight stigma. Participants also rated policy actions according to their potential for positive impact and feasible implementation. Results: Support for the majority of health and social policies was high in both samples. For example, strategies to 1) improve school-based health curriculum to include content aimed at preventing eating disorders, 2) require training for educators and health providers on the prevention and early identification of eating disorders, and 3) implement school-based anti-bullying policies that that protect students from being bullied about their weight, were supported by over two-thirds of participants. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that both health and social policy actions will be important in broader policy initiatives to address eating disorders and weight stigma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number524
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 29 2014



  • Eating disorders
  • Policy
  • Prevention
  • Public support
  • Stigma
  • Weight

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