Exciting news! On November 23, 2021, H.1822/S.1127 had a public hearing in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and on February 10, 2022, An Act Prohibiting Body Size Discrimination was reported out favorably from the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. The bill was redrafted and is now S.2669.
An Act prohibiting body size discrimination
Weight stigma is widespread and results in discrimination from landlords, lenders, employers, and service providers; interpersonal harassment from loved ones; and structural exclusion when public spaces are built to be inaccessible to larger bodies, as with the ever-shrinking size of commercial airline seats. Weight stigma is also a known risk factor for eating disorders in people of all sizes. The more a person takes negative messages about fat bodies to heart, the likelier they are to develop an eating disorder, regardless of how much that person weighs. In addition to eating disorders, weight stigma is associated with risk for diabetes and other poor health outcomes.
STRIPED supports the Massachusetts Legislature’s work addressing weight stigma and discrimination through legislation. An Act prohibiting body size discrimination has been introduced for the 2021-2022 legislative session and has been assigned S.2669 (formerly H.1822/S.1127). Read our full policy brief to learn more.
Sign-on Opportunity! Join us in calling for an end to weight discrimination in Massachusetts by having your organization sign onto our community sign-on letter urging lawmakers to support this important legislation. If you would like your organization to sign on, contact us at: STRIPED@hsph.harvard.edu and we’ll follow up with you with more details.
Advocacy Opportunity! If you live in Massachusetts, you can take action to end state-wide weight discrimination! Please send an email to your senator urging them to support the bill. You can use this template to find your state senator and reach out to them to register your support for the bill.
More resources on weight stigma and discrimination:
- STRIPED has compiled a fact sheet, news stories, and science summaries for more background on the problems weight discrimination poses.
- This policy brief, published by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at UCONN, covers weight bias and weight discrimination law.
- “Weight based discrimination in the workplace is real. Here’s why talking about it matters,” from YW Boston blog by Jordan Ziese, Advocacy and Public Policy Senior Coordinator, discussing the history of weight-based discrimination, body-positive advocacy, and steps to address weight discrimination at work.
- “The Scarlet F,” from Harvard Public Health magazine, features STRIPED Director S. Bryn Austin and Trainee Monica Kriete MPH ’18 and explores weight discrimination from a public health perspective.
- This legal article by Iyiola Solanke advocates for the civil rights law strategy for people with large bodies seeking protection from discrimination.
- Rebecca Puhl’s Washington Post op-ed titled, “Weight discrimination is rampant. Yet in most places it’s still legal,” calls attention to the importance of this legislation.