Research indicates that self-reported incidents of weight-based discrimination, has increased in the last few decades. Individuals who are subjected to weight-related stigma, appear to be rated more negatively when compared with other groups, such as sexual minorities, and those with mental illness.
Anti-fat bias has been observed in groups hoping to become physical education instructors. In one study, a group of 344 psychology or physical education majors at a New Zealand University were compared, and it was found that the prospective physical education teachers were more likely to display implicit anti-fat attitudes than the psychology majors.
A number of studies have found that health care providers frequently have explicit and/or implicit biases against overweight people, and it has been found that overweight patients may receive lower quality care as a result of their weight. Medical professionals who specialize in the treatment of obesity have been found to have strong negative associations toward obese individuals.
In one study, preschool-aged children reported a preference for average-sized children over overweight children as friends. As a consequence of anti-fat bias, overweight individuals often find themselves suffering repercussions in many facets of society, including legal and employment issues later in their life. Overweight individuals also find themselves facing issues caused by increased weight such as decreased lifespan, joint problems, and shortness of breath.
According to a 2010 review of published studies, interventions seeking to reduce prejudice and social stigma against fat and obesity are largely ineffective.