Does fat shaming really work? A new study published last week in science journal PLOS One suggests that it's actually counter-productive.
According to the findings from researchers from Florida State University College of Medicine, fat shaming -- sometimes suggested to pressure people into losing the pounds -- actually has the opposite affect:
"Among participants who were not obese at baseline, those who reported weight discrimination were approximately 2.5 times more likely to be obese by follow-up than those who did not report weight discrimination."
Wow. That's huge. Shaming chubby people not only didn't help them lose the weight, it more than doubled their risk of becoming obese.
The researchers studied the data from over 6,000 subjects who completed a questionaire in 2004 and then again in 2010.
Researchers Angelina R. Sutin and Antonio Terracciano noted that people cope with fat shaming in a number of ways that might logically lead to that result.
People may avoid exercise because they're uncomfortable with the comparisons with the fitter people in the gym class or exercise room. Or they may give up and binge eat as a way to cope with the stress.
We all know jerks who make cruel comments about people's weight. Many of them say that they're speaking out because of a concern for the victim's health.
Exhibit A might be movie critic Rex Reed's verbal assault on actress Melissa McCarthy last month. In an infamous review of Identity Thief, he called the admittedly plus-sized star "tractor-sized" and "a female hippo."
Exhibit B might be the mid-July Boy Scouts Jamboree gathering in West Virginia, which banned any scout from attending who had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more.
A third example would be OK! Magazine's recent controversial fat Kate weight loss issue. The oh-so-concerned OK! cover article offered tips to the Duchess of Cambridge on how to lose her swollen post-baby belly bump scant hours after she gave birth to the future king of England.
Folks, if you're out there fat shaming people, it's time to knock it off.
After 100 years of weight loss diets and exercise, people are just getting bigger. Those methods clearly don't work for most folks.
And now we can toss another useless weight loss technique on the trash pile. The science is out there to say that fat shaming doesn't work either.