Ohio Featured in Study on “What Calling A Girl ‘Fat’ Really Does”

Ohio Featured in Study on “What Calling A Girl ‘Fat’ Really Does”


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If you’ve ever doubted that weight loss and body image are at least as much psychological issues as they are physical issues, this study from UCLA should be eye-opening. If you’re an obese adult in Ohio, and you can recall having adults call you fat or comment negatively on your weight during your childhood, the findings in this study suggest that addressing the underlying programming might effectively address the weight issues. Check out this excerpt from an article about the study that appeared on Refinery 29, and click the link below for the full text.

Anyone with half a brain (or a heart) knows that poor body image can have a devastating effect on physical health. Just think about the incidence of eating disorders in children and teens who’ve faced bullying. Now, a new study out of UCLA suggests that telling girls that they’re fat makes them significantly more likely to be obese as young adults.

Published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, the study looked at 2,379 girls living in California, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. (a group that was almost evenly divided between white and African-American), and tracked their height and weight as they aged from 10 to 19. In the beginning of the study, 58% of the participants had been called “too fat” by a close family member, friend, or boy or girl she liked.

The data showed that the girls who had been called fat as children were 66% more likely to be clinically obese at the end of the study. The results were unchanged when researchers controlled for a number of factors that could have contributed to individuals’ likelihood of becoming obese, such as race, parental education, income, and the age at which they reached puberty, and even whether or not the girls were actually obese to begin with. As author A. Janet Tomiyama, PhD explains in the study’s press release, “That means it’s not just that heavier girls are called too fat and are still heavy years later; being labeled as too fat is creating an additional likelihood of being obese.”

Click here for the full text.

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