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Study Shows Weight Discrimination Can Lead to Increased Risk of Mortality

A recent study confirms that people who experience weight discrimination are more likely to become or remain obese, to develop chronic health problems and to have a lower satisfaction with life.

Florida State University College of Medicine researchers Angelina R. Sutin and Antonio Terracciano looked at data involving over 18,000 people from separate longitudinal studies. They compared people who reported experiencing weight discrimination with those who did not experience it. Their findings have been published in Psychological Science.

I’m so glad this study was done. You can’t bully a person into thinness whether you are a friend, family member, doctor or colleague. Weight discrimination does irreversible harm. I hear from my patients every day stories about what siblings or cousins or parents say to them regarding their weight, and that it hurts.

In the exam room, I cringe and then redirect parents when they pinch at a child’s abdomen to show he or she is too fat. Parents and children will choke up when reflecting what a doctor has said to them about their weight. To add insult to injury, 100% of obese children report being bullied. No wonder the quality of life for obese children is comparable to those with cancer or on chemotherapy.

We have to stop judging, we have to pitch in, we have to take down this beast which preys on some of our most vulnerable. We have to focus on health and not weight. We have to stop throwing darts at obesity and start reaching out a hand!


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