Why you can never escape the stigma of being fat: Friends and family remember people as overweight… even when you've slimmed down
06:55 GMT, 30 May 2012
You've spent months counting calories and pounding the treadmill to finally get into that size 12 dress.
But perhaps you shouldn’t have bothered – no matter how much weight you’ve lost, your friends still think of you as fat.
Scientists have found when a woman slims down, her family and colleagues remember her as being overweight – and continue to label her as being lazy and greedy.
Stigma: Scientists have found when a woman slims down, her family and
colleagues remember her as being overweight and continue to label her
as being lazy and greedy
The study, by Manchester University, the University of Hawaii in Manoa and Monash University in Melbourne, looked at 273 volunteers.
All were shown pictures of five 31-year-old women and told to read notes about them.
The study found most people regarded women who had lost weight as being less attractive than the one who had always been slim
One woman had been slim all her life
while another had been overweight.
The other three had previously been
fat but had lost around five stone and were a normal size.
The volunteers were then asked to rate each woman’s attractiveness and state whether or not they liked them.
The study found most regarded the women who had lost weight as being less attractive than the one who had always been slim.
They also made negative comments about the women and had certain ‘fat prejudices’.
Researcher Dr Janet Latner, from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said: ‘Obesity stigma is so powerful and enduring that it may even outlast the obesity itself.’
Dr Kerry O’Brien, from Manchester University’s School of Psychological Sciences, said: ‘Many people who are perceived as “fat” are struggling in vain to lose weight in order to escape this painful social stigma.
‘We need to rethink our approaches to and views of weight and obesity. Given the great number of people who may be negatively affected by this prejudice, obesity discrimination needs to be reduced.’
BULLYING FEARS OVER SCHOOLCHILDREN WEIGH-IN
The NHS’s controversial weigh-in for
schoolchildren should be scrapped because it wrongly labels many
youngsters as obese and could lead to bullying, MPs warn.
Under the National Child Measurement Programme, a pupil’s body mass index is taken when they are five and again at age ten.
However, the report claims that BMI –
which measures a person’s weight in relation to their height – is often
inaccurate because it does not take muscle into account.
The MPs recommend that children’s waist size or body fat should instead be measured.