Don't weigh in on obese people, study says
April 22, 2011
Obese people are more likely to avoid the exercise they need to fight the battle if their loved ones tease and criticism them, a new study shows.
The study, published this month in the journal Obesity, surveyed 111 obese adult men and women about weight discrimination and how it influenced their motivation to exercise.
"This idea that we can use a tough love approach, it just doesn't seem to work," Dr Lenny Vartanian, a researcher from the University of NSW and lead author of the study said.
"In fact it appears to backfire, making people less likely to exercise."
Dr Lenny Vartanian, who studies the psychology of body image and weight discrimination, said one reason for this could be the embarrassment felt by overweight people when others "stare, laugh or make negative comments".
"When we exercise this mostly takes place in public, like in a gym," he said.
"So if someone gets negative comments it makes people want to avoid being in those public situations."
Almost half of those surveyed reported experiencing some form of weight stigma at least once a week, whether it be hearing negative comments or missing out on a job because of their weight.
Respondents said the most hurtful comments came from spouses, family members and doctors.
Dr Vartanian said public policy should also focus on lessening discrimination against fat people.
"We have certain policies in place to guard against all those groups who have been historically marginalised, whether due to race or religion," he added.
"Fat stigma is really the last remaining acceptable form of discrimination."
Fat stigma exists because it is related to unhealthy behaviours - what's next? Don't pick on people who smoke? Don't criticise violent people? Fat stigma is not discrimination. Obesity is an epidemic which costs us millions of dollars... What about all of us who AREN'T fat because we make healthy choices... People just need to wake up to themselves and learn some restraint and it doesn't help having 'professionals' defend their poor behaviour...
OverExcuses - April 22, 2011, 9:40AM
And that comment by OverExcuses is why I'd like to punch smarmy thin people in the mouth.
I'm dealing with a doctor who wants me to have lapband surgery so he can wipe his hands of any problems I have. Apparently it'll fix everything. I do make healthy choices, don't smoke, don't drink. I don't go to a gym, there are no pensioner rates at the gym. Fine, walking is free if you don't fall over broken footpaths, get chewed by dogs or run down by creeps on skateboards. Or the arthritis is hurting in both feet because of the cold weather or the tin knees are still recovering from the last fall or you know you're going to fall heavily on the first skinny bitch that wanders in front of you just to hear her matchstick legs break. It's a wonder Abbott hasn't thought of a way to tax us on poundage, $2 off the pension for every bit of blubber that wobbles.
Damn, shouldn't have said that, he soaks up other people's ideas like bread soaks up gravy, not that I'm allowed to eat bread or gravy.
It's hard, Jah Teh, when we become polarised over these things, as if fat or skinny are the only possibilities.
Still I agree with you, we are so cruel towards people with any so-called 'negative' distinguishing features, be they over weight, blind, flat chested, pimply, dark skinned, 'foreign' in all senses of the word, disabled in any way etc etc.
Underneath we all suffer. On the surface some look to have it all together. But no one really has it all together.
As for obesity, to me one of the the worst aspects is when we associate so-called fat with ugly. People say things like this all the time: I feel so fat and ugly, they will say, as if the two words are synonymous. They're not .
I wonder if it happens because being fat is associated with being tto hungry and hunger and need quickly get associated with greed, because most of us can't bear our vulnerability and our neediness which we all share however we hard we try to meet our unmet needs.
Some do it with food, some with alcohol, some with sex, some with drugs, some with religion, or with work.
The list is endless, and yet some ways of coping are more obvious, like over eating. It shows.
In many ways it's a cruel and unfair world. And we need loads more compassion towards one another. After all we're in this together.
Sorry for the rant, JahTeh, but like you, I think these things matter.
I'm sitting here nodding my head over the broken footpaths and arthritis. Walking is bad enough when you have painful shins and ankles, but when you can't even get a decent rhythm going because you have to watch each step or trip, then it's just too hard.
Having said that, I WILL be getting back to my walking routine straight after Easter, as soon as the chocolate is all gone. With the weather being cool enough now, I have no more excuses.
One thing I've found really disturbing in people's reaction to being overweight is the looks people give you when you're eating. And not just if you're eating something unhealthy.
It can be lunchtime, and the lunch could be a healthy salad, and some people will give you outright dirty looks, like they're thinking "how dare you be eating at all".
Oh yes. And the looks hurt. And shop assistants can be truly precious about it too. I have large feet (as well as being overweight). Some years ago I went to buy some sandals - to be told by the shop assistant in tones of disbelief 'we don't make them THAT big. I am not far off 6 feet. I would fall over even more often if I had little feet.
For heavens sake, fat isn't your whole life. Fat people look important anyway.
My problems with food have always been psychological so I'd have to lapband my brain in some way. And lapbanding doesn't work, it doesn't address the underlying reasons for obesity and they're many and varied. All my mother's family have been big women who lived in the country and did all the hard yakka. None of them ended up thin.
River, I forgot the gumnuts, loose stones, slight rises in the footpath that you don't notice until you stumble. It's no wonder I'm hyperventilating by the time I get to the bus stop. Homeyped used to have a lovely soft walking shoe which was great since you could feel the surface underneath the walking foot but these fancy joggers just make me feel like I've got concrete boots on.
I hear you No-One, I used to feel awful eating in public but now I don't. If I want a cake and a giant ice coffee then I'll have it because it's a treat not an everyday blowout. Of course to really upset watchers, I like to be reading a healthy food guide or the weight watchers magazine.
EC, shoes are made in China and their large size feet are nothing like ours. Homeypeds are so comfy but so expensive so it's wait for sale time. I love the velcro closures because I have different size feet and being able to adjust is great. Don't you feel that sales staff need a course in people skills these days especially the young ones who seem to confuse facebook where they can say anything they want and real life where they shouldn't.
Lord Rochester is correct, fat people look important, are amazingly beautiful, tremendously wealthy, charismatic and quite above the snide looks of stick insects.
The idea that excercise reduces weight is a modern day furphy, Jah Teh. I understand that a 20 minute walk will walk off 1 biscuit. Maybe your doctor owns shares in a gym.
In old cartoons and books, eg Dickens, the sedentary clerks and scholars were always presented as skinny.
I read that low-fat food will make you fat. And that grain fed meat will mess up your system.
But that's what they're saying this week. Who knows what it will be next?
Frances, low-fat food is full of sugar and the latest is to have full fat but only a small amount and make sure it's good fat. I spend my life trying to make sense of the tables on the side of food containers and trying to work out how big is a 'serve' of anything. It's no good eating out of a small bowl, I usually drop everything down the front of me. I mean I am trying to shift 38 years of blubber here, it doesn't want to leave a comfy home.
Any why didn't people die of obesity in the 'old days' because they didn't live long enough to.
The 'fat free' stuff is full of sugar, the 'sugar free' stuff is full of fat.
That dreadful commentor you quoted is probably a chain smoker who starts each day with a hacking cough and when they cannot breathe via their blackened lungs will scream that the government doesn't fund lung-cancer research.
Gwynnie Paltrow is skinny and it looks vile. Madonna is pumped and cut and it looks vile.
The 3 Middleton women are lusting after a cream cake, and remember when Jane Fonda was the workout queen? she was puking up her food, it wasn't the workout at all.
fk 'em all.
Can't you get a better class of commenters, Witch?
You know, the ones who understand the beauty of brevity.
I was going to make a very witty comment, but I'd first have had to to wade through the tomes posted here in case someone else has already said it.
I'm not THAT masochistic, m'dear.
[sigh] I guess prolix attracts prolix...
Now RH will no doubt tear strips off me, eh?
Gerry, the toughest men I know are also the finest gentlemen.
You're a pissant.
Annie O, the one thing all of them can't hide is their hands and knees.
Their faces might look good but they've all got 'old crone' boney bits.
Jeebus Bear, brevity is what I get from the cat, I come here for comments whatever length. If you want brief, look in the mirror with your gob shut.
Got me on a day I didn't need whinging.
There, happy now? Robbert made a brief and rude comment.
If Robbert made anything but a rude comment about me I'd have to go into therapy. :-)
Happy Easter to you and all your readers, including Robbert.
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