Campus Watch: Pennsylvania University study finds that fat-shaming makes people’s health worse

According to new research, fat-shaming people into losing weight has the opposite effect, leading to comfort eating and even an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

Professor Rebecca Pearl at the University, said: “There is a common misconception that stigma might help motivate individuals with obesity to lose weight and improve their health”.

Those who have a negative impression of their size were three times more likely to have a metabolic syndrome and six times more likely to have high triglycerides, or blood fats, indicating a vicious cycle of low self image and health problems.

She called body shaming a “pervasive form of prejudice” often found in cyber bullying. People who are battling obesity are too often stereotyped as lazy, incompetent, and lack willpower and many people “internalise [these] negative stereotypes and can ultimately lead to depression.

Dr Pearl highlighted the need to treat patients with respect in the clinical environment as well as in society more widely, emphasising the need to discuss weight with sensitivity and without judgement and freely giving support and encouragement to those who struggle with weight management.

Amy Crawford

(Image: The Telegraph)

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