Strong prejudice remains for women even after losing the pounds
It’s called “anti-fat prejudice” even after losing weight women seem to be stigmatized for life according to a new study.
The University of Hawaii, University of Manchester and Monash University in Australia set out to find if women endure anti-fat prejudice even though they had lost a dramatic amount of weight and now are thin.
Researchers had asked several men and women to read short stories describing women. In the stories a woman had either had lost 70 pounds, maintained proper weight, and was either obese or thin. After the readings were completed were asked their opinions on the woman’s attractiveness on each story and their opinion on fat people in general.
Dr. Janet Laner, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, lead author of study, stated in a news release from the University of Manchester “We were surprised to find that currently thin women were viewed differently depending on their weight history.” “Those who had been obese in the past were perceived as less attractive than those who had always been thin, despite having identical height and weight.”
Another disturbing fact research had found the participants negative attitudes towards obese people had increased when they were told the lie that body weight is easily controlled.
Dr. Kerry O’Brien, PhD, from the University of Manchester’s School of Psychological Sciences, co-author of study stated “Weight status actually appears rather uncontrollable, regardless of one’s will-power, knowledge and dedication. Yet many people who are perceived as “fat” are struggling in vain to lose weight in order to escape this painful social stigma. We need to rethink our approaches to, and views of, weight and obesity.”
The authors write “These results suggest that residual stigma remains against people who have previously been obese, even when they have lost substantial amounts of weight and regardless of their weight-loss method. Exposure to portrayals of the malleability of body weight, such as those promoted in the popular media, may significantly worsen obesity stigma.”
This study is published online in the journal Obesity.
Obesity is defined by having a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or higher.
When it comes to obesity there are things you can do for prevention but there are factors of obesity that are beyond a person’s control such as genetics and age related hormonal changes.
Do you believe there is obesity discrimination and prejudice? Does the stigma of being obese still follow a person even when they lose weight?