Those who achieve weight loss though diet and exercise are viewed more favourably than other avenues such as surgery, according to a new Australian study.
Researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) investigated the impact the method of weight loss had on attitudes.
"It's well-known that, as well as suffering adverse health, overweight and obese people are often stereotyped as lazy, incompetent and lacking self-control," study supervisor Dr Lenny Vartanian said (March 9).
"Many obese people are motivated to lose weight to reduce that bias, but few studies have actually looked to see whether success in losing weight also succeeds in changing attitudes."
According to Dr Vartanian, weight loss surgery patients may not be able to overcome the obesity stigma because surgery may be perceived as the "lazy option" – as opposed to the effort involved in dieting and exercise.
Wellbeing programs that incorporate advice on diet and exercise are offered by some health insurance policies and those with significant health risk factors can also gain access to fund programs supported by trained dieticians.
Data from the Department of Health and Ageing indicates that 61.4 per cent of the Australian population is either overweight or obese.