I wonder how many times studies will need to come out and people will need to talk about the damage caused by panic mongering over the obesity crisis before the media stops covering it.  I wonder if the media will ever stop sensationalizing fat.

Today I came across another article in U.S. News citing a small study that some women exposed to an article that appears to devalue fat people (how many of those do we see per day?)  seems to spur people to overeat.

The study was designed to determine if people who felt stigmatized for being overweight were likely to eat more, due to resulting anxiety or frustration, said study author Brenda Major. She is a professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara…

Seeing media stories covering the so-called “obesity epidemic” and its potential impact on health care costs triggered Major’s interest in doing this study, she said. “There’s a frenzy about obesity in the media and there’s a negative, moralistic tone to the coverage,” she said.

Not surprising (to me at least) is that the results showed that presented with articles of how fat people were weak-willed or a high “cost to society” many of those studied turned to food for comfort.  The article cited other studies that indicate women placed in a situation where they felt devalued because of their weight had higher blood pressure and studies showing that discrimination based on weight can lead to weight gain.

And just this week, another study was released by the Rudd Center regarding the effect of weight stigma on cortisol reactivity.  What was truly fascinating about this study, is that perceived weight stigma affected the cortisol levels of all women, regardless of BMI.  So in other words, women of all sizes carried significantly greater levels of stress hormones after a single incident of weight stigma.  These stress hormones are related to many processes in the body including regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure.

All of which leads us to ask the question again.  Why oh why oh why does the world feel that it is okay to stigmatize fat people for their own good.  It doesn’t do fat people any good.  And in fact, there is ever increasing evidence that weight stigma makes people less healthy and probably makes them gain weight.

I think we have to start to wonder what various people and groups are getting out of wagging their finger at the fat folks.  Do they get a sense of superiority?  Do they get higher ratings?  Do I care why they do it?  Nope.  I just want them to stop.

Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

7 Comments. Leave new

  • Jeanette — do you think it’s partially a “follow the money” issue; i.e., we need to see who benefits materially from fat-shaming? ‘Cuz a lot of people are making a good living off of making women feel awful about themselves.

  • Jeannette, I’m too fried at the moment to do anything but thank you, but I am grateful beyond words for the work that you do. I stop in here nightly to get my dose of sanity from you and some other bloggers, and without it I’d be in a bad way. Thank you.

  • A-freakin-men!!! Ive been saying this for the past year and this is from 30 years of personal experience! I watched my weight climb for 29 years trying every diet or pill and yet would ALWAYS run to food especially when made fun of in school or called names or some jerk only wanted to date me on the side so no one would know it is awful! The stories on tv and the web only make it worse! A year ago I had to have emergency gallbladder removal. I took a good look at myself and decided one thing… Screw the haters I AM BEAUTIFUL and my whole world has changed! Ive lost 75 pounds from only changing my diet. But it only happened when I decided that what they said meant nothing. I defined my worth and it was just a total change! No crazy dieting or pills. I eat and drink clean. And whats more is that I did it naturally my brain had to make that change before anything else. But the point is why should we have to chose that? Why does the media fat shame and degrade? Why do people not raise their kids to see past the outside to see the heart? Looks will fade hard bodies will eventually turn soft we all get wrinkles… Why cant we spread love and acceptance??? You might be shocked at what positive energy and reinforcment can do! I was shocked! Great article!

  • […] do we do this to ourselves?  As I have said, literally a gazillion times on this very blog, shame does not make us happier, healthier or thinner.  Shame makes us […]

  • […] this apart for a moment, shall we?  I’ve spoken before, at great length, about how shame fails to make people healthier, happier or thinner.  In fact, I’ve spoken about how shame tends to […]

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