Tags: Obesity | fat | stigma | obesity | harmful

Is Fat Stigma as Harmful as Obesity Itself?

Is Fat Stigma as Harmful as Obesity Itself?
(Copyright DPC)

Friday, 13 November 2015 05:17 PM

Being overweight doesn’t necessarily make a person distraught, but the teasing, judgment, and unsolicited advice directed at overweight people — sometimes called “fat shaming” — can cause significant psychological harm.

That’s the latest word from researchers who have found that overweight or obese individuals are more likely to report problems like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and low self-esteem if they had experienced weight-based discrimination in the past, The New York Times reports.

The study, reported in the journal Social and Personality Psychology Compass, also found that being the target of weight discrimination can lead to harmful behaviors like avoiding the gym or doctor’s office in order to protect against future stigmatization.

“People assume there is a direct relationship between how much people weigh and their psychological health,” said Jeffrey Hunger, a doctoral candidate in social psychology at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

“Our research and other research is showing that no, it’s not about their weight, it’s the treatment they faced and what they worry they will face.”

The findings come as a new federal report says obesity rates are still rising among American adults — climbing to nearly 38 percent of adults, up from 32 percent about a decade earlier.

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Being overweight doesn't necessarily make a person distraught, but the teasing directed at overweight people - sometimes called 'fat shaming' - can cause significant psychological harm.
fat, stigma, obesity, harmful
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2015-17-13
Friday, 13 November 2015 05:17 PM
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