Obesity stigma at work

Improving inclusion and productivity

Bajorek Z, Bevan S  |   | Institute for Employment Studies  | Nov 2020

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This report is the first output of the PURPOSE programme (Promoting Understanding and Research into Productivity, Obesity Stigma and Employment). The programme, funded by Novo Nordisk, focusses on improving national productivity levels via better employment and labour market outcomes for those living with overweight or obesity.

The issue of obesity prevalence in the UK is a priority for both policymakers and healthcare professionals. The consequences of obesity for both individual health and the economy have been estimated to be up to 20 percent of total healthcare spending. During the Covid-19 pandemic it has also been observed that those living with severe obesity are more vulnerable to the infection, often requiring more advanced treatment and, sadly, experiencing higher death rates. 

The report undertakes a detailed review of existing evidence-based research around obesity and overweight, looking at obesity prevalence in England and the Devolved Nations, causes and consequences of obesity for health and the economy, weight stigma prevalence and consequences, analysis of implications for employment and detailed recommendations for both employers and employees, healthcare professionals, the government and the media.

Novo Nordisk has provided funding to the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) to undertake the creation of the PURPOSE programme, including the production of this report. Novo Nordisk has had no influence over the content of this report or this programme. IES retains full and final editorial control over this report and all aspects of the PURPOSE programme.