A new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has found that fat shaming someone who is battling obesity doesn’t actually encourage them to get healthy — in fact, it has the opposite effect.
Results showed that after being subjected to fat shaming, people were more likely to experience increased heart rate and blood pressure, in addition to weight gain.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania worked with 159 participating adults battling obesity, according to a press release, and a majority of the group were African American women. After undergoing medical examinations, the patients were split into two groups based on how deeply they had internalized negative biases about weight.
Some people with obesity internalize negative stereotypes that they hear from fat-shamers. The study showed that those with high levels of weight bias internalization were three times more likely to have metabolic syndrome, and six times more likely to have high triglycerides.
“There is a common misconception that stigma might help motivate individuals with obesity to lose weight and improve their health,” said lead researchers Rebecca Pearl, PhD, according to the press release. “We are finding it has quite the opposite effect. When people feel shamed because of their weight, they are more likely to avoid exercise and consume more calories to cope with this stress. In this study, we identified a significant relationship between the internalization of weight bias and having a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, which is a marker of poor health,” Peal explained.
Source: Medical Daily