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It's time to start shifting the negative narrative around diabetes. Stigma encompasses negative attitudes or discrimination against someone based on a distinguishing characteristic. Diabetes stigma refers to the experiences of exclusion, rejection, prejudice, or blame that people with diabetes unfairly experience due to their health condition. 

Diabetes stigma stems largely from the belief that individual behavior and poor choices result in developing diabetes. However, this not only leads to misplaced judgment, blame, and contempt toward those individuals, but it also removes attention from other contributing factors, including genetics, the environment, and socioeconomic influences. 

Stigma is problematic and creates many barriers at nearly every step of the path towards quality diabetes care. It is impossible to make significant progress in diabetes without first reducing this stigma among people with and without diabetes. By eliminating stigma, people with diabetes are afforded more autonomy in their healthcare, freedom from judgment and surveillance, and power to change the systems that are contributing to the diabetes epidemic in the US. 

Watch the d20 Lightning Talks: Five Perspectives on Diabetes Stigma. Hear from five powerful speakers including actor, Anthony Anderson, renowned expert on obesity stigma, Dr. Rebecca Puhl, CEO of the FrameWorks Institue, Dr. Nat Kendall-Taylor, former executive director of GLAAD, Joan Garry, and former president of the American Diabetes Association, Dr. James Gavin III.

Check out these articles on diabetes, weight, and obesity stigma to learn more about what stigma looks like and how we can address it: