Academy for Eating Disorders Applauds Iceland for Proposed Inclusion of a Ban on Weight Discrimination in its Constitution
DEERFIELD, ILL. ̶ December 5, 2012 ̶ The Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), the leading international association for professionals in eating disorder treatment, prevention, research and education, openly supports the Icelandic people for consideration of weight under the section on equality in its new constitution. Research shows that weight discrimination is a pronounced and severe form of bias in Western societies. It has been documented as occurring in diverse settings such as education, employment and healthcare services, and has serious implications for the health, quality of life and financial prospects of those subjected to it. Despite unequivocal evidence that this type of discrimination occurs, no country has yet taken the critical step of making weight discrimination illegal.
"Icelandic research has shown that weight discrimination is occurring in our employment settings and, for example, overweight women were more likely than any other group to lose their jobs after the economic collapse in 2008," says Sigrun Danielsdottir, an Icelandic psychologist, committee chair in the Academy for Eating Disorders and president of an organization that is fighting for weight to be included as a protected class in Iceland's new constitution. "This is a serious human rights issue,“ she noted.
The AED therefore strongly encourages the Icelandic nation to become the first in the world to offer legal protection against weight discrimination. This would be a monumental step for human rights and an inspiration for other nations to follow such an important precedent. Danielsdottir said, “No country to date has taken a direct step to ban this type of discrimination and weight is not even included in the Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. Icelanders are known for their strong commitment to human rights and could lead by an important example. We have the first openly gay prime minister, we have an equal number of male and female minsters in our government, and last year, Iceland was ranked as the best place in the world for women to live in by Newsweek magazine. We sincerely hope that Iceland will live up to its reputation and become the first country in the world to prohibit weight-based discrimination.“
For additional information on the AED, its mission, and information about eating disorders, please visit the AED website at www.aedweb.org.
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