Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Weight shaming--the last frontier of discrimination

Well, probably not the last frontier--people always want someone to look down on and at the moment, immigrants are in the box. But this dark side of obesity--weight stigma--is still much with us.

Weight-based discrimination in the US rose by 66% between 1995 and 2005. Among young women, it's more common than age or sex discrimination.

It is also the most common cause of bullying among children. One study showed that weight stigma causes juries to be more likely to find someone guilty! Physicians sometimes stop at seeing someone is fat--well, there's the problem!

Does this motivate people to lose weight? No--because if it did, there would be no obesity. Overweight people often counter negativity by eating. They can become depressed, filled with anxiety, and even suicidal.

Over their body size?

Yup--two out of three people reported being stigmatized. And stress can increase the reaction to cortisol--a hormone. Heightened cortisol stimulated appetitite, dampens satiety, prepares the body to store fat and makes palatable foods look even tastier.

All this stigma comes from societal norms--thin is in, fat means you are lazy, sloppy, and incompetent.

But the factor of personal responsibility, say experts, is overstated. Obesity is not a lifestyle choice, Body weight is the result of many complex factors, environmental, genetic, biological and behavioral.

Of the people who do manage to lose weight, 95% regain it--and sometimes more.

I am particularly annoyed with people who toss around the term "morbidly obese." They are not doctors--this is designed to hurt.

And remember--what goes around comes around. My skinnier sister sneers at my body size, but when she hit menopause, she gained quite a bit and was horrified. Oopsie.

And they could lose those awful shows on people who are over 600 lbs. Fat porn.

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