Objective: Stigma is a mark that defines some people, devalues, and causes them to be distinguished from others in society. Obesity is among the diseases that might cause discrimination and stigmatization. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between weight stigma, self-esteem, and life satisfaction in people with a bariatric surgery history.

Method: This cross-sectional study was evaluated in 250 individuals [147 female (58.8%) and 103 male (41.2%)] with a mean age of 34.35 ± 7.46 years. Descriptive characteristics, the factors leading to bariatric surgery, self-esteem, and life satisfaction scores were collected with a questionnaire. Linear regression models for the life satisfaction scale were analyzed. Statistically, P < 0.05 values were considered significant.

Results: The postgraduates had lower life satisfaction than high school and undergraduate students (P=0.001); the non-smokers had higher life satisfaction than smokers or who quit smoking (P=0.036) and also non-alcoholics had higher life satisfaction than the other groups who consume alcohol or quit consuming (P=0.000). The self-esteem of the non-smokers was higher than smokers or who quit smoking (P=0.000). The postoperative body weight loss of the individuals was 93.8 ± 31.3 kg. Accordingly, most of the individuals (98.4%) applied for surgery because of a “fear of health problems”, 98.8% of the individuals were “experiencing exclusion or discrimination at school or work”, 99.2% of the individuals were “feeling insecure about the opinions of others” and “being blamed by people for weight problems”. The self-esteem score of the overweight group was higher than the group with normal BMI values (P=0.012). According to the regression model, weight loss and self-esteem were among the determinants of life satisfaction (P=0.000).

Conclusion: The current data suggest that strategies to reduce stigma behavior should be developed in addition to lifestyle interventions, including dietary approaches, in the treatment of obesity. It is necessary to conduct follow-up studies on this subject, which span the time before and after bariatric surgery.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery, weight stigma, self-esteem, life satisfaction

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