Assessment and impact of paediatric internalized weight bias: A systematic review

Melissa Butt, Alexandra Harvey, Eiman Khesroh, Andrea Rigby, Ian M. Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Internalized weight bias (IWB) refers to an individual's belief in negative weight-related stigma. Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to IWB, but little is known about IWB in this population. Objective: To conduct a systematic review to (1) identify the instruments that measure IWB among children and adolescents and (2) explore comorbid variables associated with paediatric IWB. Methods: This systematic review was conducted in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. Articles were pulled from Ovid and PubMED Medline, Ovid HealthStar and ProQuest PsychInfo. Studies were included if they were observational studies, addressed the topic of IWB, and included children under the age of 18. Major outcomes were collected and analysed using inductive qualitative methods. Results: 24 studies met inclusion/exclusion criteria. Researchers used two main instruments to measure IWB: Weight Bias Internalization Scale and Weight Self Stigma Questionnaire. There was some variation in the response scales and wording of these instruments between studies. Outcomes with significant associations were divided into four categories: physical health (n = 4), mental health (n = 9), social functioning (n = 5), and eating behaviours (n = 8). Conclusions: IWB is significantly associated with and may contribute to maladaptive eating behaviours and adverse psychopathology in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13040
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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