Weight Stigma Is As Damaging As Obesity, Study Finds

A recent BioMed Central article has defined weight stigma as a “social rejection and devaluation that accrues to those who do not comply with prevailing social norms of adequate body weight and shape.” This implies it is discrimination based on an individual’s body weight.

According to the writers of this paper, weight stigma can cause physiological body changes, such as elevated cortisol levels, which resulted in impaired metabolic function and increased body weight. Additionally, people who are overweight could use alcohol and other drugs more frequently, eat excessively to cope with their emotions, avoid going to social gatherings or medical settings, and utilize food as a coping mechanism. Studies had revealed that the detrimental impacts of weight discrimination led to a 60% greater chance of mortality, even when body mass index (BMI) was adjusted for.

How to cope with weight stigma

Weight stigma can be addressed in a variety of ways. Since you can’t combat anything if you do not first accept it, the first step is to admit that it even exists.

Changing the way you think and behave toward those who are overweight is another action we may take. The word “obesity” needs to be eliminated from your lexicons as one crucial approach to achieving this. When speaking of someone who is overweight, we should try to remember that they are an individual with sickness and avoid referring to them solely by the illness they suffer from. For instance, “obese person” needs replacement with “person with obesity.” The term “person-first language” refers to this style of communication.

Weight stigma can be addressed in clinical settings

Weight stigma is pervasive in the healthcare industry, which has serious health repercussions for those who are overweight or obese. According to studies, doctors have a substantial anti-fat prejudice when providing medical care. This prejudice lowers the standard of treatment, which is yet some other way that the stigma associated with obesity and being overweight harms the health of those who are overweight or obese. Clinicians should follow the above commendations and acknowledge the existence of weight stigma.

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