Recent study claims that ‘Fat Shaming’ does not push folks to lose weight. University College London reported that the researchers examined 2,944 U.K. adults over a four year period that were experiencing weight discrimination, and found these folks really tended to put on more weight.
It was actually a population study, not an experimental study, therefore it cannot categorically prove the connection between prejudice and weight gain in causal. To make their findings the researchers assessed discrimination two years after the initial weight measurements and two years before the final measurements; all of the data was statistically controlled for outside influences.
The researchers got the data from the adults of age group aged 50 or older. English Longitudinal Study of Ageing reported age discrimination of 5% out of 2,944. Less than 1% of these individuals were in the “normal weight” category and 36 % were classified as “morbidly obese.”
One of the lead authors Dr. Sarah Jackson (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) said that there is no justification for discrimination alongside people because of their weight. Our results show that weight discrimination does not push weight loss and suggest that it might aggravate weight gain.
She further said that, “Previous studies have found that people who experience discrimination report comfort eating. Stress responses to discrimination can increase appetite, particularly for unhealthy, energy-dense food. Weight discrimination has also been shown to make people feel less confident about taking part in physical activity, so they tend to avoid it”.
The researchers have asked the participants about how often they practiced 5 different discriminatory situations such as, being treated with less admiration or politeness, getting bad service at restaurants or stores, being treated as dumb, being threatened or harassed, and experienced inferior behavior from doctors or at hospitals. According to the researchers, the one with these attributes of discrimination to their weight as being cases of perceived weight discrimination.
Researchers claim that study evidently shows that weight discrimination is part of the obesity problem and instead of the solution. Certainly, weight bias has been recognized not only among the general public but also amongst health professionals; and of them have reported being treated rudely by doctors because of their weight. The senior author Professor Jane Wardle, director of the Cancer Research UK Health Behavior Centre at UCL said that, “Everyone, together with doctors, should stop blaming and shaming people for their weight and offer support, and where appropriate, treatment.”