Research published this week by Ipsos MORI has shown that people living with obesity are nearly twice as likely to report poor mental health, compared to people with a healthy weight as measured by the Body Mass Index (BMI). OEN UK Champion Nadya Isack, and obesity advocate Sarah Le Brocq, spoke with Riz Lateef on the BBC Radio London about the impact of weight stigma on the mental health of people living with obesity.

Nadya and Sarah spoke about the ’empathy blind spot’ for people living with obesity, and how this impacts on their mental and physical wellbeing. We have captured the conversation in brief below. You can listen to the conversation in full on BBC Sounds (click here and press play).

“When people tell me that PLwO have no will power, I just want to laugh, because I think we have some of the strongest willpower there is”

“For some reason, we think it’s OK to comment on another person’s body size and weight, and make assumptions about their lifestyle and character.”

“We are in 2021, and things have moved on, and things that may have been acceptable in years gone by, are certainly not acceptable now… why do you think people think it’s OK to comment on someone’s weight?”

“The problem that we have is that the messaging through the media for years has been that obesity is just about what we eat and how much exercise we do. And this is why people treat people how they do now, because they think this is a choice, and people have done this to themselves.”

“That actually couldn’t be further from the truth. Someone doesn’t choose to live with obesity. There are many factors which contribute to the fact that they do. Many of those factors are outside of their control, such as their genetics and their environment.”

Nadya Isack is a Champion and Patient Advocate for OEN UK. Nadya is also a Trustee and Steering Group member for OEN UK.