Study Claims Calling Girls Fat Will Make Them So Stressed They Become Obese (Yes, Really)

14/08/2014 16:43 | Updated 20 May 2015
A recent study has explored the dangers of commenting on young girls' weight. The research, published by the JAMA Pediatrics, found telling a 10-year-old she is fat makes it more likely she will become obese by the time she reaches the age of 19.

Woman on Scale

The Daily Mail reports researchers studied 1,213 African-American girls and 1,166 white girls, 58 per cent of which had been called fat, to measure the difference in their height and weight between the ages of 10 and 19.

Dr Janet Tomiyama, from the University of California, was shocked by the results.

"Simply being labelled as too fat has a measurable effect almost a decade later," she said.

"Even after we statistically removed the effects of their actual weight, their income, their race and when they reached puberty, the effect remained.

"That means it's not just that heavier girls are called too fat and still heavy years later; being labelled as too fat is creating an additional likelihood of being obese."

Why does this happen? According to co-author of the report Jeffrey Hunger, the link between being called fat and obesity is down to stress.

"Being labelled as too fat may lead people to worry about personally experiencing the stigma and discrimination experienced by overweight individuals, and recent research suggests that experiencing or anticipating weight stigma increases stress and can lead to overeating."

Just more proof that society's current relationship with body image can have damaging effects on young girls.


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Study Finds Calling Girls 'Fat' Leads To Obesity


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