Interesting and timely show yesterday on Radio Boston (produced by WBUR/NPR) on the topic of Fat Shaming and Obesity. The pod cast hasn’t been posted as of this morning, but will be soon, I imagine. In any event, I recommend taking a look at the Common Health blog post by Carey Goldberg that initiated the broadcast. Lots of ‘food for thought‘ there.
But what really got to me were the comments from Dr. Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale. She is responsible for identifying and coordinating research and policy efforts aimed at reducing weight bias. I did not know there was a growing body (my lord, the number of body size and food references in our everyday speech is staggering!)…a growing body of research regarding the stigma, prejudice and discrimination against people of size, especially women.
I took a look at some of the Rudd Center reports and there was one entitled “Clinical Implications of Obesity Stigma” that has a section concerning Parental Weight Bias… “Overweight children feel stigmatized by parents; report negative parental comments about their weight. Parents communicate weight stereotypes to their children. Parental teasing is predictive of sibling teasing.”
Well, I’ll be… Apparently research confirms that the stigma (defined as: a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person) I experienced in my family as a child was real and a real source of my shame. Am I glad to know this? Do I feel validated? Or just saddened by the memories and the thought of the millions of children still experiencing this bullying abuse?
I keep losing my way in this flood of information and emotions. It’s about time that weight stigma/shaming are being discussed more openly; that research is being done and publicized. I was glad to hear multiple references in the discussion to the fact that ‘unhealthy food choices’ are often not really choices at all, due to socio-economic factors.
However, I noticed that talk about unhealthy food products stops short of addressing the fact that profit-hungry food industrialists knowingly produce and promote food products that are designed to make people become physically & psychologically addicted to SSF.