Science Confirms That Fat-Shaming Only Worsens People’s HealthBy Audri Taylors, UniversityHerald Reporter
The past few weeks, topics about fat-shaming have been spreading around the internet as it was triggered by some viral posts criticizing obese people. However, making overweight people feel bad about their bodies do not do anything to help them feel motivated to lose weight, according to new studies.
Fat-shaming has, in fact, reverse effects and can do more harm than good, Telegraph reported, and that it will only make obese people more likely to suffer from a heart attack. Fat-shaming is the term used to mock or criticize a person for their size, and scientists find that instead of inspiring them to lose weight, it works the other way around.
Currently, more than 70 percent of the total American population are obese, and research finds that most people perceive obese Americans to be lazy individuals who lack willpower. Angelina Sutin, a psychologist and assistant professor at the Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee, Fla, said that weight discrimination has bad consequences for a person's physical health, according to NBC news.
Study shows that stigmatizing overweight people can lead to psychological factors that will encourage more weight gain, examples are binge eating due to depression. Now the study links what the internet has labelled as "fat-shaming" to weight gain.
Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University said that stigma and discrimination are really stressors and for many people, they could really be chronic stressors. She added that eating is a common reaction to stress and anxiety, which explains why people tend to eat more in order to respond to stressors.
Eating more appears to be one of the coping strategies so that overweight or obese people can deal with the stress of being stigmatized, she explained.She concluded that stigmatizing is not really the solution to fight obesity but she hopes that research like this can help public health campaigns towards encouraging people to engage healthy behaviors.