BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – In a world that often categorizes individuals based on their appearance, the topic of “weight” can be a sensitive subject. 

According to the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), a 2017 study indicated that Louisiana ranks among the top ten states in the U.S. for both adult and childhood obesity, and that nearly one out of four adults in the state is considered obese. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that obesity can increase the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, gallstones, stroke, certain cancers, and premature death. 

In view of the health risks associated with obesity, a number of celebrities and government officials are working to bring attention to a tough subject. 

But as they speak out on the topic of obesity, many are changing the tone of the conversation.

When discussing weight, instead of promoting unreachable standards that smack of perfectionism, the focus is on getting healthy.

In East Baton Rouge, for example, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome launched Healthy BR and Move with the Mayor to encourage residents to become more active and to expand health equity in the region. 

And on a national level, celebrities like Queen Latifah are speaking out about the stigma often attached to the word “obese,” and how ignorance about its causes can negatively impact a sufferer’s life.  

The 52-year-old star is partnering with a pharmaceutical company called Novo Nordisk to embark on a campaign called “Bigger Than Me” that aims to promote health instead of weight loss alone. 

As part of the campaign, Queen Latifah will travel across the nation and host conversations in cities such as Houston, New York, and Los Angeles.

Each event will be live streamed and includes a brief reception followed by a 45-minute panel of special guests who will discuss the process of removing the stigma and bias that surrounds the topic of obesity. 

The tour begins June 7.