‘Fat Shaming’ Leads to Obesity

‘Fat Shaming’ Leads to Obesity‘Fat Shaming’ Leads to Obesity

Those who are made to feel ashamed about their size are six times as likely to become obese, a study has found.

Experts say that being criticized for their weight drives those who are already sensitive about it to ‘comfort eating’. Fear of ridicule may also mean they avoid exercise.

Researchers from University College London said that the obesity crisis could be eased by teaching people - including doctors - that it is counterproductive to discriminate against others because they are overweight.

They said public health campaigns should also avoid making people feel bad about their weight.

The study involved almost 3,000 English men and women aged 50-plus who were weighed twice, four years apart. They were also asked if they had been discriminated against because of their weight.


Examples of this included disrespect - including being the butt of jokes - receiving poorer service in shops, restaurants, hospitals and doctors’ surgeries and being threatened and assumed to be stupid.

About 5 per cent said they had been treated differently because of their weight - with the figure rising to 36 % among those who were the most overweight.

The study, published in the journal Obesity, found that those who were victims of “fat shaming” put on just over 1kg on average over the course of the study. They were also six times as likely to become obese.

In contrast, those who were not criticized actually became slimmer, albeit by a small amount.