Weight Discrimination Is Linked to Obesity

A study found that people who experience weight discrimination may have a higher chance of gaining weight

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Weightism, a term for weight discrimination, lowers self-esteem and makes it harder for people struggling with obesity to make a change.

Discriminating against someone because of their weight could increase the likelihood that they’ll gain more weight, according to Health.

Researchers performed a study which compared the height and weight of more than 6,000 people and found that people who experienced weight discrimination or what is called “weightism” were two-and-a-half times more likely to become or stay obese.

“Discrimination is hurtful and demeaning, and has real implications for physical health,” says Angelina Sutin, the lead researcher for the study and an assistant professor of psychology at Florida State University.

People often assume that discriminating against someone who is obese will motivate them to lose weight, she says. Instead, it lowers self-esteem and makes it harder for people struggling with their weight to feel they can make a change.

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In order for patients to lose weight, obesity needs to be addressed with more compassion and understanding, according to Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center.