Health at Every Size and Eating Disorders


My Best Friend Kelrick got this figurine for me in a little shop in Astoria, Queens. Sadly I don’t know the artist.

new study from the Department of Psychology at the University of California Los Angeles, tells us what we would already know if we believed fat people who talk about their lived experience. Fat shaming doesn’t have any positive outcomes, but it has plenty of negative ones. In this case, the study found that fat shaming girls, especially by family, does not lead to healthy behaviors but instead can lead to eating disorders.

Oh, look — a big bag full of obvious!

The authors looked at data from a large, long-term study that included 2,036 girls. The girls reported at age 14 if they had been called “too fat” by their parents, siblings, best friends, boys they liked, any other teenagers, or their teachers. At ages 14 and 19, the girls completed an assessment of unhealthy weight control behaviors, body dissatisfaction, tendency toward bulimia, and drive for thinness, as well as reporting if they had engaged in unhealthy behaviors to around their weight. Controlling for variables including body mass index, race, parental income and education, and a girl’s level of disordered eating behaviors at age 14, the girls who had reported being called “too fat” at 14 had higher scores on the eating disorder inventory at age 19. The lead author, psychologist Jeffrey Hunger, told Reuters, “Labeling young girls as ‘too fat’ will never spur positive health behaviors; it is simply going to result in poor body image, unhealthy weight control practices, and disordered eating.”

This is not the first study of its kind…

To read the rest of this piece, click here!

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Published in: on July 12, 2018 at 6:51 am  Comments (7)  

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very much in the form of Captain Obvious, but some part of me tells me the goal isn’t reeely health. More like emotional battery and blackmail. Been there, lived that. Glad he’s dead, for so many reasons.
    Here’s one: On the Fourth, like 80 percent of the population my mom and I BBQ’d. That is I cooked over briquettes in the tray from an old electric cooker of some kind, using cookie racks. And as I was going in and out the back door, at one point our jackass neighbor blurts out: “Eat a Salad!”

    S’funny, A: because he is a cigarette and pot smoking alcoholic with no ‘indoor voice’ who fights with his wife on a weekly basis, and B: We had salad! And fruit and homemade pickled beets…

    Does he really feel better after his passive aggressive outbursts? Reeelly? Hey, maybe he really was concerned about our health!? AAAwwwww.

    • Ah, fat shaming on a festive occasion when everyone is enjoying special feast-day food! Because everyone has the right to splurge on these occasions—unless they’re fat, of course. Then they should crouch in the corner nibbling raw broccoli. And someone has to tell them that.

      Dear food police: zip your lip about what I’m doing with mine at a frigging holiday meal. Or you might get a FAT LIP.

      (No real violence implied. But if someone does this to me, I will point out all their health and social failings minutely and publicly.)

  2. Whipping out Stafford’s Heuristic again, because sometimes it’s important to cut past the bullshit and remember that “the purpose of a system is what it does.” The people who created and who support the War on Obesity use a lot of shocking language, an endless stream of Bad Cops calling for us to be mass-murdered and burned vs. Good Cops making up tragic backstories of how we “went wrong” and how they must compassionately save us… but if you ignore their words and ask yourself what their combined methods and their proposals have actually *accomplished,* you turn up a whole lot of this study and not much else.

    The War on Obesity claims its goal is to make fat people healthier. It has made us sicker. It claims it wants to extend our lifespans. Many of its “treatments” are immediately fatal. It claims it wants to free us up to live our fullest lives, and then it traps us in an endless cycle of weight loss, attempted maintenance, and inevitable regain that replaces our lives.

    The purpose of a system is what it does. This is what the War on Obesity does.

    • I think the purpose of the War on Obesity is, like everything else in this country, based solely on greed. Nobody cares about fat people’s health, except for the fat people and those who really love them. It’s all just an excuse to make money.

      Just like the US government is now officially against breastfeeding babies. Nobody makes any money off of that, so instead they promote formula manufacturers. That they are actually harming infants by doing so doesn’t make a bit of difference to them.

      It’s amusing, ironically so, that fat people are often portrayed as greedy. Greed is the number one value of this country, so if we were greedy (we aren’t) we should be celebrated!

      • Did you have to weather that obnoxious storm a few weeks back in which nearly every mainstream publication trumpeted a study claiming it “proved” body positivity and increased social visibility of fat people “was making the obesity crisis worse?”

        Do you know *how* body positivity and social visibility was “making the crisis worse?” Did the study find an unprecedented increase in the number of fat people? Did it find a general decrease in exercise or vegetable consumption? Maybe a decline in metabolic health? What AWFUL things could it suspect body positivity and visibility of doing to justify such hand-wringing and panic-mongering?

        Well, here; why don’t I just link to the study?

        Yup. That’s right. The study asked roughly twenty thousand fat people whether or not they thought they were too fat, and those exposed to body positivity were more likely to say no. TL;DR body positivity makes the obesity crisis is “worse” by making fat people consider the scandalous possibility they might not have to lose weight to be human. The study didn’t look at the participants’ health. It didn’t look at participant’ habits. It didn’t look for increases in weight. *All it measured was fat peoples’ attitudes towards their bodies.* Yet for weeks, the sky was falling, a slight decrease in the marginalization of fat people was what was making it fall, and compassionately stomping the arrogant fatties back into silence and invisibility was the only way to keep the world from ending.

        And then the sky didn’t fall, the world didn’t end, and the health section of the newspaper went back to hawking the keto diet.

        • Since I can’t edit, correction: Okay, on re-reading, they did *collect* data on metabolic health and personal habits, but as far as I can see it does not appear to have been taken into account in the results and conclusion – only whether or not the person expressed dissatisfaction with their bodies and a desire to lose weight.

  3. Wow, making people terrible is bad for their health? I’m completely astonished.

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