Some people believe that overweight or obese people should feel ashamed of their weight or eating habits. This shame will motivate them to stay healthier. So, they resort to (justified) fat-shaming. Scientific evidence shows that fat-shaming makes people feel bad, terrible about themselves, which could motivate them to eat more and gain weight and the cycle will repeat. The impact of fat-shaming could not just be poor mental health and low confidence but also Obesity!
This article will tell you everything you need to know about the impact of fat-shaming and the effects.
Obesity across the globe
Obesity has increased dramatically across the globe and has become a major public health issue. From 1980 to 2013, obesity in developed countries went from 28.8% to 36.9% for men, 29.8% to 38.0% for women, 16.2% to 22.6% for girls and from 16.9% to 23.8% for boys.
These figures can also be seen in the better-off countries where obesity was not an issue before. South Korea is not an exception in this. It has also been seen that young adults in the 20s and 30s age group are the victims of obesity from 24.4% in 1988 to 43.8% in 2015.
What is Fat-Shaming?
Fat-shaming involves humiliating and criticizing overweight people about their weight, just to make them feel ashamed of themselves.
The belief behind all this is to motivate them to eat less, lose weight, and exercise more. The people fat-shaming others are slim and haven’t experienced this problem before, in the majority of cases.
Researchers have found that discussion related to obesity revolves around fat-shaming, often turns out to be harassment and cyberbullying, and that too especially for women.
There are entire online communities/groups which are made only for fat-shaming and harassing of overweight people and people gather to make fun of overweight people.
Impact of Fat-Shaming
This stigma and discrimination against overweight people by fat-shaming are only worsening. The psychological impact of fat-shaming and physical problems have appalling effects.
Fat-shaming links to increase risk of obesity
Many observational studies have indicated that weight discrimination causes weight gain and a rapid increase in obesity.
A study conducted in 6,157 people, non-obese people who have experienced fat-shaming were 2.7 times likely to be obese in the next few years.
Obese people who have faced discrimination were 3.2 times, likely to remain obese. Another study conducted in 2,944 people concluded that this form of discrimination is linked to a 6.7 times larger risk of becoming obese.
Harmful Effects of fat-shaming on Obese People
The harmful effects of fat-shaming are a much bigger problem in comparison to weight gain.
The harmful effects given below are supported by studies-
People who are hunted down by fat-shaming have a high risk of depression and mental issues.
Fat shaming has an increased risk of an eating disorder, like binge eating. In fact, people even resort to Harsh Dieting which causes a lot more harm.
Fat-shaming causes a reduction in self-esteem.
It causes stress, increases weight, increases cortisol levels, and mental issues.
Researches made it very clear that fat-shaming only has harmful effects on others- both psychological and physical.
Fat-shaming in job markets
Let’s walk through an example to get a better grasp of exactly how this is happening.
When a receptionist, Karen, gained weight, her boss told her that she could not work there as a receptionist and sent her to work in the post room. She said that her boss told the news in the team meeting, not in a private interview. Everyone there accepted it as a normal decision, myself included. She said it felt like her own fault, she shouldn’t have gained weight. Later, she ended up in a wheelchair due to Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. She said that people used to look at her body, judge her all the time, which she has never experienced before.
Now people don’t look at her body and have started looking at her wheelchair, and that made her realize how much she has experienced all because of body shaming. Then it hit her mind that all that had happened at that clothing company was totally wrong.
University of Pennsylvania researches summarize that obese people are stereotyped as being “lazy, incompetent, unattractive, lacking willpower, and to blame for their excessive weight” – physically incapable and slothfull.
This is why people lose their jobs and face discrimination by others.
Risk of Suicide
As mention above, the study has shown that obesity increase the risk of depression and that can lead to suicide.
A study conducted has shown that those who have faced weight discrimination were 2.7 times more likely to be depressed. A number of studies show that depression is very common for obese people. Especially for those who are with extreme obesity.
Depression is the top cause of increased suicide risk. The study conducted in 2,436 people shows that a 21-times larger risk of suicidal behaviour occurs in obese people. A 12-times greater risk of attempting suicide.
The harmful effects of obesity may probably increase suicide risk.
Discrimination regarding human body weight and body-shaming leads to stress. This causes people to eat more, due to stress eating, and gain more weight.
Such bullying not only causes additional weight but also leads to depression which can further lead to suicide. It also leads to an eating disorder, reduced self-esteem, and other mental and physical problems.
This discrimination occurs in the jobs market by bosses and colleagues. Even in matrimonial ads, in daily households and so on. Especially if you are a woman, body-shaming, colourism, etc are not unheard of.
Again, please do not remind others about their love handles or double-chin. You never know the impact of fat-shaming that your comments could have.
Beauty does not lie in physical appearances. We all know it. But being constantly reminded about your extra weight is torturing. Please seek medical help. If you desire a healthy weight and lifestyle, make healthy eating and regular workouts a lifestyle. Also, visit our blog Switch to salads, a nutritious diet!