Content for media
The media plays an integral role in the perception of not only obesity, but also the individuals impacted by it. Our guidelines are intended to support journalists so they are able to cover obesity-related topics accurately, thus enabling them to avoid stigmatising and stereotypical portrayals of individuals with obesity. It is our hope that, as a media representative, you will adhere to these guidelines when reporting on obesity.
Thank you for visiting World Obesity’s Image Bank.
- World Obesity Federation owns and retains the copyrights to all images. No copyright license is granted to the user, other than the right to reproduce the images. Please credit © World Obesity whenever images are in use.
- You may, under no circumstances, redistribute or sell the images at any time. If you wish to share our imagery, please share a link to our site for other users to download imagery themselves.
- Any use that may promote bias or be harmful to the persons appearing in the images is strictly prohibited.
- All images are free to download and reproduced for the following purposes:
- Print or online publication for news/media reporting purposes
- Non-commercial promotional materials (i.e. brochures for healthcare or community programs)
- Research and scientific purposes
- Educational purposes and materials
- Presentation of products to policy makers
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- Retail items or materials intended for sale such as books, calendars, postcards, place-mats, or screen savers; personal or promotional materials
- Packaging or promotion of products intended for sale
- Advertising materials and/or campaigns in any medium intended to promote commercial, for-profit business
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If you have any questions about our images or their use, please refer them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In downloading any images, I acknowledge the terms laid out on this page and will credit © World Obesity in all usages.
What to avoid
Photographs used for journalistic purposes should be chosen carefully and the following should be avoided:
- Photographs that place unnecessary emphasis on excess weight or that isolate an individual’s body parts (e.g. images that disproportionately show abdomen or lower body).
- Pictures that show individuals from the neck down (or with face blocked) for anonymity (e.g. images that show individuals with their head cut out of the image).
- Images with unnecessary exposure of skin (e.g. images showing bare midriff or inappropriate fitting clothing to emphasize excess weight around abdomen).
- Photographs that perpetuate a stereotype (e.g. eating junk food, engaging in sedentary behaviour) and do not share context with the accompanying written content.
Creating a new standard
To promote the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour in journalism, we need to work together to create a new standard for the portrayal of individuals with obesity in the media. For example:
- Engaging in normal, non-sedentary, lifestyle activities that do not just revolve around eating and food.
- Depicting educated and employed individuals.
- Depicted in a neutral manner, free of additional characteristics that might otherwise perpetuate weight-based stereotypes.
Weight bias penetrates every facet of life for individuals that are affected by obesity. The media plays an integral role in the perception of not only obesity, but also the individuals impacted by it. It is our hope that, as a media representative, you will adhere to these guidelines when reporting on obesity.
People First Language
People-first language is the standard for respectfully addressing people with chronic disease, rather than labelling them by their illness. Because of the importance of reducing bias associated with obesity, World Obesity Day partners urge everyone to use people-first language.
Hurtful and offensive words should be avoided, and terms preferred by patients should be used – for example, descriptive terms such as weight, BMI and waist circumference are more appropriate than fat, fatness and heaviness. To reduce negative feelings, it can be helpful to emphasise that obesity is a clinical term rather than a description of physical appearance.
For more information, the OAC have produced a guide for People First Language.