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Surprising Science

Fat Stigma Is on the Rise

Research conducted by Arizona State University anthropologists finds an increasing number of societies express negative attitudes towards overweight individuals—a reversal of earlier trends.

What accounts for shifts in fat stigma? “Researchers believe global campaigns characterizing obesity as a disease has something to do with it. Media messages from Western societies commonly associating slimness with self-worth and societal value could influence opinions about fatness as well. Tracking such trends adds another facet to how health programs can better help individuals who may feel socially stigmatized by their weight. After all, the authors note, services exist to alleviate the physical burdens of obesity, but rarely consider its social effects.”


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