Jennifer Copeland Contributes to MSN Article on Weight Bias

After being contacted by the Association for Size Diversity and Health, fifth year PsyD student Jennifer Copeland jumped at the opportunity to work with MSN Health and Fitbie® reporter Hollis Tempelton on an article titled "Can We Shake Weight-Based Stereotypes?"

The article focuses on squashing stereotypes that overweight people are "lazy, less competent, and sloppy."

Copeland has done extensive research on weight bias during her time as a student at Forest, and appreciates the broader audience she is able to reach through this article.

"Contributing to this article was an amazing experience. To be able to truly impact the daily lives in such a tangible fashion is a privilege," said Copeland.

She says one of the important things she contributed to the article is that weight bias is more than about stereotypes.

"Rather than giving suggestions to fat people on how to make sure they do not fit the stereotypes, I provided the author with ideas rooted in the Health At Every Size® and size acceptance paradigms," said Copeland.  "I talked about ways to practice good self-care when experiencing weight stigma and self-empowerment strategies to foster one’s ability to respond to stigma in the future."

One of the ways she does that is by encouraging overweight people to change the perceptions, but not themselves.

Copeland says she owes a lot of thanks to her professors at Forest for inspiring her to do more with this topic.

"If it hadn’t been for Forest professors such as Dr. Jaberg, who mentored me during my Research and Evaluation Fellowship studying weight bias and has continued to work with me, and the support and continued challenges to grow from Dr. Gonzalez and Dr. West, I never would have reached this point," she said.  "And without Dr. Powers pushing us to realize the power we have before we become full-fledged professionals, I would not have placed myself in the position to have this opportunity."

To view the entire article "Can We Shake Weight-Based Stereotypes?" visit MSN Health's Fitbie site.