Discriminating against obese ‘doesn’t help weight loss’……….but, there was no evidence discrimination caused weight gain (so work that one out!)


Discriminating against obese ‘doesn’t help weight loss’ Making people feel ashamed about obesity could lead them to gain weight, not lose it, suggests University College London. In a study of nearly 3,000 adults over four years, those who said they had experienced weight discrimination put on more weight than those who did not.

Researchers said there was no evidence discrimination caused weight gain, but it could lead to comfort eating Health professionals were urged to be more supportive. So let me guess this right, there is no evidence that so-called weight discrimination causes weight gain but the overwhelming tenor of this article attempts to imply that it does

The study, in the journal Obesity, looked at data from adults aged over 50 ranging from normal weight to obese who had taken part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. They were asked if they had experienced day-to-day discrimination that they believed to be connected to their weight.

Examples of discrimination included being treated disrespectfully, receiving poor service in shops and being harassed (so how did these people know that the way they were treated was because of their weight?) One in 20 reported weight discrimination, and in the morbidly obese group one in three reported discrimination. Men and women reported similar levels of weight discrimination.

Over the four-year period, on average, people in all weight groups who said they had experienced these negative attitudes put on nearly 1kg – just over 2lb. Those who did not typically lost 0.7kg. The researchers say this suggests that blaming and shaming people for being overweight is counterproductive. Instead they say it is better to be supportive and encouraging. (Question: what happens when the helping and supporting has no effect?)

Dr Sarah Jackson, lead study author from the department of epidemiology and public health at UCL, said: “There is no justification for discriminating against people because of their weight. “Previous studies have found that people who experience discrimination report comfort eating. “Stress responses to discrimination can increase appetite, particularly for unhealthy, energy-dense food. “Weight discrimination has also been shown to make people feel less confident about taking part in physical activity, so they tend to avoid it.”

The study said “widespread weight bias” had been reported in health professionals, and not just among the general public. Prof Jane Wardle, director of the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Centre at UCL, said weight discrimination was part of the obesity problem – not the solution. “Everyone, including doctors, should stop blaming and shaming people for their weight and offer support, and where appropriate, treatment.”



This is an incredibly shoddy piece of reporting and is misleading in its headline. Being fat or obese is not an illness as many like to claim, it is simply a matter of stopping putting food in your mouth in such quantities. It is a matter of individuals taking personal responsibility for their own health and well-being including eating a balanced diet (go to any supermarket and stand in line at the checkout and view the amount of  processed food being bought then play “spot the fresh vegetable or fruit”) taking a bit of daily exercise and stop blaming others for their problem.

I stood behind a woman at the supermarket this week as she loaded her goods into bags and despite the bill coming to £96.00 I did not see any fresh fruit or vegetables. Frozen pizzas, burgers, cakes, fizzy drinks yes!

It seems to me that many people today are either too lazy to cook fresh food or don’t know how to………………….

This entry was posted in Culture, Discrimination, Employability, Equality, Health and Wellbeing, Psychology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Discriminating against obese ‘doesn’t help weight loss’……….but, there was no evidence discrimination caused weight gain (so work that one out!)

  1. khendradm says:

    Yes, hard as it may be to be both truthful and tactful about this, it’s simply the truth that the vast majority of overweight and obese cases in the West are caused by a calorically excessive diet which no amount of exercise could ever effectively burn off. Until the overweight and obese accept this reality, stop looking at minor factors irrelevant to the cause-and-effect context (e.g., blaming only fat, only carbs, only gluten, etc.), and make PERMANENT dietary changes accordingly (not five day crash diets, moderate exercise that doesn’t burn enough calories, etc.), they will continue to struggle.


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