A top British researcher and “obesity expert” claims that making fun of people for being overweight is so harmful that there should be laws prohibiting discrimination against fat people, just like those forbidding discrimination based on race or sex.
“In the United Kingdom, the Equality Act 2010 legally protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, disability, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, or gender reassignment; making it clear that discriminatory behaviour of this nature is not to be accepted,” Dr. Sarah Jackson of the University of London said, according to an article in the Daily Mail.
“However, our results indicate that discriminatory experiences contribute to poorer psychological well-being in individuals with obesity, but there are currently no laws prohibiting weight discrimination,” she continued.
Jackson conducts research on the psychological effects of being a victim of “fattism,” which includes being the butt of fat jokes and having people assume you’re stupid just because you’re fat.
Not only is this kind of stuff a bummer, Jackson said that being made fun of for being fat can actually be the reason fat people stay fat. Overweight people eat poorly because they feel so bad about being made fun of for being fat and need junk food to comfort them, and they don’t exercise because they’re worried about being made fun of for being a fat person who exercises.
#related#Not everyone necessarily agrees with this assessment, however. In February, British weight-loss expert Steve Miller said that “fat shaming” is actually the secret to his success in helping his clients lose weight.
“Whenever anyone discusses fat shaming, they automatically say it’s mean but this isn’t the case,” he said. “In actual fact, fat shaming and telling people they’re overweight is a huge motivator.”
Jackson based her recommendations on studies she’s conducted of thousands of British adults.