Fat shaming actually increases risk of becoming or staying obese

Making overweight or obese people feel bad about their bodies doesn’t do anything to motivate them to lose weight – actually, a new study finds it does just the opposite.
People who felt discriminated against because of their weight were more likely to either become or stay obese, finds a new report published this week in the journal PLoS ONE.
“Weight discrimination, in addition to being hurtful and demeaning, has real consequences for the individual’s physical health,” says study author Angelina Sutin, a psychologist and assistant professor at the Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee, Fla.
It’s a funny cultural paradox: Most American adults – around 70 percent — are overweight, and more than a third are obese. And yet research – not to mention popular culture – shows that we perceive obese Americans to be lazy, unsuccessful schlubs with no will power.
In a real-life example, just last month, evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller tweeted, “Dear obese PhD applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation #truth.”
Miller, an associate professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico, quickly deleted the tweet and apologized, but many don’t feel they need to be sorry for saying cruel things to overweight people – they’re just concerned about the person’s health, that’s all! A 2011 public health campaign in Georgia used that idea in a series of ads designed to fight childhood obesity, featuring chubby, sad-looking kids with slogans like “Big bones didn’t make me this way. Big meals did.”
"It’s almost like obesity is the last of the acceptable groups to be teasing," says Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News health and diet editor. Being biased about the overweight or obese, she says, is still very socially acceptable.
Research has already shown that stigmatizing overweight people leads to psychological factors that are likely to contribute to weight gain – things like depression or binge eating. This new paper takes that a step further, linking what the Internet likes to call “fat-shaming” to weight gain and suggesting that you can’t scare people skinny.
“Stigma and discrimination are really stressors, and, unfortunately, for many people, they’re chronic stressors,” says Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. Puhl has studied weight bias and discrimination for 13 years. “And we know that eating is a common reaction to stress and anxiety — that people often engage in more food consumption or more binge eating in response to stressors, so there is a logical connection here in terms of some of the maladaptive coping strategies to try to deal with the stress of being stigmatized.”