Fat-shaming is not only wrong and mean-spirited, it also happens to have an adverse effect on people's health.
A new study from the University of Pennsylvania shows fat-shaming people could actually increase the risk of heart disease in obese people.
Some people might assume that trying to shame someone into changing their behavior or exercising will help them lose weight -- but they couldn't be more wrong.
According to lead researcher Rebecca Pearl, an assistant professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, "there is a common misconception that stigma might help motivate individuals with obesity to lose weight and improve their health."
However, her team have found quite the opposite. She explained,
Pearl and her colleagues looked at 159 people who were first asked to fill out a questionnaire measuring depression and weight bias internalization (negative weight-related stereotypes about themselves).
Then, the participants were given medical examinations to determine if they had metabolic syndrome or any risk factors associated with heart disease.
At first, no link was found between weight bias internalization and metabolic syndrome.
But, when the participants were split into two groups, separated by “high” and “low” levels of weight bias internalization, the researchers found the participants with high internalization were three times more likely to have metabolic syndrome and six times more likely to have high triglycerides
Long story short, fat-shaming people doesn't help whatsoever. It only makes things worse.
Tom Wadden, PhD, a professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and director of Penn's Center for Weight and Eating Disorders and co-author of the study, said,
What you say to people can literally have serious health consequences.
Life's short, be kind to others.