"Fat shaming" may lead to weight gain
The old adage “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything" may actually have real-life implications for people with obesity. According to new research published in the journal Obesity, "fat shaming, or the act of harassing someone about their weight, may result in the individual being harassed to gain more weight.
To conduct their study, the researchers at University College, London asked 3,000 adults whether they had faced discrimination because of their weight, including whether they had been harassed, treated with less respect, received poor service at restaurants and stores or been treated as if they were not smart. Of this group, about 5 percent said they had experienced fat shaming. Over a four-year period, those who reported weight discrimination gained about two pounds (0.95 kilograms) on average, while those who did not report weight discrimination lost about 1.5 pounds (0.71 kg).
Previous studies have linked weight discrimination with behaviors that may increase weight gain, such as comfort eating and feeling too embarrassed to exercise. While this study only proved an association between weight gain and weight discrimination, the researchers note that fat shaming is definitely part of the obesity problem, not the solution.