Science: Calling Little Girls Fat Actually Helps To Make Them Fat

By Courtney Flannery 2014-04-29 18:16:02
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As a kid, I got teased pretty much all the time for my weight. Even as an adult, whether someone has recently lost or gained weight, people have comments to make too. Unfortunately, this teasing and taunting can last a lifetime and have a ton of negative consequences. A recent study found that young girls, who are already susceptible to low self esteem, may be experiencing negative physical effects from being labeled as fat.

According to Tech Times , a recent study shows that calling little girls fat actually may cause them to gain weight. We've always known it's hurt self-esteems, but the physical side-effects are a game changer. The findings by a team at the University of California Los Angeles were recently published in Weight Labeling and Obesity. They found that labeling young women as “too fat,” at the age of ten made her more likely to be obese by age 19. Data was collected from 1,213 girls who are African-American and 1,166 Caucasian girls from major cities across the United States. About 58% of these young ladies were called too fat during their younger years.

Interestingly, even after factors like race and income were taken away, the rate of obesity in these girls stayed the same. The research team discovered that creating an environment where the growing children feel pressure about their weight actually causes more stress and overeating. Apparently, making people feel bad about how much they weigh can increase production of cortisol, a hormone that can cause the pounds to add up. I think we've all been in a mood where nothing will make us feel better except candy; so imagine being a kid and in that state for years. It definitely can't be good for the scale.

A concurrent study done by folks at UCLA analyzed data that showed losing weight doesn't always make you healthy. In fact they found that people with a body mass index of 30, which is overweight, actually had lower mortality rates than those who were underweight. Another group of research showed that your genetics might play a pretty big role in how you lose or gain weight. So, there is some truth to your size being in your genetic code.

The researchers emphasize that the most important thing to focus on is eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting regular exercise. That's way more beneficial than obsessing about numbers on the scale. They hope that reducing the stigma against obese people can help reduce stress and fears that these young girls face, and create an environment where health isn't dictated by your body mass. I personally hope this body teasing stops too, because no kid deserves to feel terrible about who they are. Everyone has flaws and differences, and we need to teach children to embrace the things that make us all unique.
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