Skip to main content

People living with Obesity

People living with Obesity

Let's talk about... life with obesity

Around 1 billion of us are living with obesity today. Everyone’s journey is different, but many people face similar challenges along the way, such as weight stigma, blame, and barriers to support.

Attitudes to obesity need to change, and so do the whole-society systems (like food and healthcare) that affect people’s health. It’s time the world started listening to what people living with obesity have to say about the issue.

Let's get talking...

This World Obesity Day, start a conversation about obesity with someone you know. Why not begin with one of the topics below? Or choose from our wider selection of topic cards.

Let’s talk about… when individuals are blamed for their obesity

Individuals are not to blame for their obesity. Obesity is often driven by forces outside of a person's control, and is the result of complex biological, genetic, and environmental factors.

Let's talk about... mental health

The relationship between mental health and obesity is complex. Some mental health disorders, and their associated medications, can lead to weight gain, while excess weight increases the risk of certain disorders such as depression.

Let's talk about... how life events can influence weight gain and obesity

Our experiences, from prenatal life to early adulthood, pregnancy, illness and more, can influence weight gain.

Let's talk about... turning conversations into action

When we talk, debate and share our stories we can change perspectives and transform health outcomes. Together, we can be a powerful voice calling for real action. What will you do? Read on for more ideas.

Get involved

Find a community

There are supportive networks of people living with obesity all over the world, offering information, support, and guidance. Joining a community can help you navigate your own obesity journey and advocate for better treatment, prevention, and understanding.

Some of the largest organisations are: the Global Obesity Patient Alliance (GOPA); European Coalition for People living with Obesity (ECPO); the US Obesity Action Coalition (OAC); and the Australian Weight Issues Network (WIN); but you can find other local groups on the World Obesity Patient Portal.

find a community near you
1

billion

people are estimated to be living with obesity

Share your experience

Everybody’s experience of obesity is different.

There are many ways to address people's lived experience of obesity, that must work for the individual. What is your experience?

Sharing your story can help change perspectives and inspire others who may feel alone and unrepresented. You can also hear from other people about their experience of obesity.

Tell your story

Speak out against stigma

In many countries, people living with obesity are regularly blamed for it due to misconceptions and biases. Weight stigma reinforces incorrect assumptions that obesity is merely a person’s individual responsibility. Have you experienced weight stigma? These resources can help challenge outdated perspectives:

Facing stigma can take a toll on your mental health. These tips from the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) can help you navigate and understand difficult feelings.

Case Study Background

PEOPLE LIVING WITH OBESITY

Find inspiration in others

Ogweno’s story :

Ogweno Stephen was born with childhood obesity, but with the support of people around him he was able to manage his condition. He now leads Stowelink, an organisation educating people in Kenya about obesity, stigma, and how to lead healthier lives.

Ogweno, Nairobi, Kenya

Join our campaign

Meaningful change in obesity treatment, prevention, and policy will only happen if people with lived experience are involved. World Obesity Day is a chance to make your voice heard. You can use our resources in all sorts of ways:

  • Share your experiences and ideas
  • Organise a group discussion or activity
  • Print or display information in your community
  • Spread the word on social media
Find campaign tips and resources