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Science Proves It: Fat-shaming Doesn’t Work

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2250 words

Milo Yiannopoulos published an article yesterday saying that “fat-shaming works”. It’s clear that the few papers he cites he didn’t read correctly while disregarding the other studies stating the opposite saying “there is only one serious study”. There is a growing body of research that says otherwise.

He first claims that with the knowledge of what he is going to show will have you armed with the facts so that you can hurl all the insults you want at fat people and genuinely be helping them. This is objectively wrong.

In the study he’s citing, the researchers used a quantitative analysis using semi-structured interview data (which is used when subjects are seen only one time and are instructed by the researchers what the guidelines of the experiment will be in order to get the reliable, comparable, and quality data) on 40 adolescents who lost at least 10 pounds and maintained their weight loss for at least a year. This guideline came from Wing and Hill (2001) who say that maintaining a 10 percent weight loss for one year is successful maintenance. He claims that the abstract says that bullying by the peer group induces weight loss. Though, it’s clear that he didn’t read the abstract correctly because it says:

In contrast to existing literature, our findings suggest that primary motivating factors for adolescent weight loss may be intrinsic (e.g., desire for better health, desire to improve self-worth) rather than extrinsic. In addition, life transitions (e.g., transition to high school) were identified as substantial motivators for weight-related behavior change. Peer and parental encouragement and instrumental support were widely endorsed as central to success. The most commonly endorsed weight loss maintenance strategies included attending to dietary intake and physical activity levels, and making self-corrections when necessary.

Peer encouragement and instrumental support were two variables that are the keys to success in childhood weight loss maintenance, not fat-shaming as he claims.

The same study found that obese people were more likely to lose weight around “life transitions,” like starting high school. In other words, people start to worry about how others will see them, especially when they need to make a good first impression. Fear of social judgement is key. So keep judging them. 

The study didn’t find that at all. In fact, it found the opposite.

Dr. Fred Pescatore says:

According to a new study, while most teens’ weight loss attempts don’t work, the ones who do lose weight successfully, quite simply, do it for themselves, rather than to please their (bullying) peers or (over-pressuring) parents.

He then cites a paper from the UCLA stating that social pressure on the obese (fat-shaming) will lead to positive changes. Some of the pressures referenced are:

If you are overweight or obese, are you pleased with the way you look?

Are you happy that your added weight has made many ordinary activities, such as walking up a long flight of stairs, harder?

The average fat person would say no to the first two.

Are you pleased when your obese children are called “fatty” or otherwise teased at school?

Fair or not, do you know that many people look down upon those excessively overweight or obese, often in fact discriminating against them and making fun of them or calling them lazy and lacking in self-control?

Self-control has a genetic component.In a 30 year follow-up to the Marshmallow Experiment, those who lacked self-control during pre-school had a higher chance of becoming obese 30 years later. Analyzing self-reported heights and weights of those who participated in the follow-up (n=164, 57 percent women), the researchers found that the duration of the delay on the gratification task accounted for 4 percent of the variance in BMI between the subjects, which, according to the researchers, was responsible for a significant portion of the variation in the subjects. The researchers also found that each additional minute they delayed gratification that there was a .2 reduction in BMI.

Why? Because people change their health and dietary habits to mimic that of their friends and loved ones, especially if they spend lots of time around them. Peer pressure encourages people to look like the people they admire and whose company they enjoy. Unless there’s a more powerful source of social pressure (say, fat shaming) from the rest of society, of course.

Not even thinking of the genetic component. The increase in similarity relative to strangers is on the level of 4th cousins. Thus, since ‘dietary habits are mimicked by friends and family’, what’s really going on is genotypic matching and that, not socialization, is the cause for friends and family mimicking diets.

There is only one serious study, from University College London, that suggests fat-shaming doesn’t work, and it’s hopelessly flawed. Firstly, it’s based on survey data — relying on fat people to be honest about their weight and diets. Pardon the pun, but … fat chance!

Moreover, the study defines “weight discrimination” much like feminists define “misogyny,” extending it to a dubiously wide range of behaviours, including “being treated poorly in shops.” The study also takes survey answers from 50-year olds and tries to apply them to all adults. But in what world do 20-year-olds behave the same way as older people?

The paper he cites, Perceived Weight Discrimination and Changes in Weight, Waist Circumference, and Weight Statusdoes say what he claims. However, the researchers do say that due to having a sample of people aged 50 and older that it wasn’t applicable to younger populations (as well as other ethnicities, this sample being 97.9 percent white). (Which you can tell he did not read, and if he did he omitted this section.)

The researchers found that 5.1 percent of the participants reported being discriminated on the basis of their weight. They discovered that those who experienced weight discrimination were more likely to engage in behaviors that promoted weight gain, and were more likely to see an increase in weight and waist circumference. Also observed, was that weight discrimination was a factor in early onset obesity.

Present research indicates that in addition to poorer mental health outcomes, weight discrimination has implications for obesity. Rather than motivating people to lose weight, weight discrimination increases the risk for obesity. Sutin and Terraciano (2013) conclude that though fat shaming is thought to have a positive effect on weight loss and maintenance, it is, in reality, associated with maintenance of obesity. Also seen in this sample of over 6,000 people was that those who experienced weight discrimination were 2.5 times more likely to become obese in the next few years.Further, obese subjects were 3.2 times as likely to remain obese over the next few years.

Sutin et al (2014) also showed how weight discrimination can lead to “poor subjective health, greater disease burden, lower life satisfaction and greater loneliness at both assessments and with declines in health across the four years”.

Puhl and Heuer (2010) says that weight discrimination is not a tool for obesity prevention and that stigmatization of the obese leads to threatened health, the generation of health disparities and, most importantly, it interferes with effective treatments.

Tomiyama (2014) showed that any type of fat shaming leads to an increase in weight and caloric consumption.

Shvey, Puhl, and Brownell (2011) found in a sample of 73 overweight women, that those who watched a video in which weight discrimination occurred ate 3 times as many calories than those who did not see the video. The authors conclude that despite people claiming that weight discrimination works for weight loss, the results of the study showed that it leads to overeating, which directly challenges the (wrong) perception on weight discrimination being positive for weight loss.

Participants were from an older population, in which weight change and experiences of weight discrimination may differ relative to younger populations so findings cannot be assumed to generalize

Puhl and King (2013) show that weight discrimination and bullying during childhood can lead to “depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, suicidal ideation, poor academic performance, lower physical activity, maladaptive eating behaviors, and avoidance of health care.”

I expect we’ll see more of these pseudo-studies, and not just because academics tend to be lefties. Like climate scientists before them, I suspect a substantial number of “fat researchers” will simply choose to follow the political winds, and the grant money that follows them, rather than seeking the truth.

He is denying the negative implications of fat-shaming, disregarding the ‘one study’ (or so he claims) that shows the opposite of what he cited (which he didn’t read fully). I also like how these studies are called ‘pseudo-studies’ when the conclusion that’s found is a conclusion he doesn’t like. Really objective journalism there.

The reverse is also true. Just being around attractive women raises a man’s testosterone.

The researchers say that talking with a beautiful woman for five minutes led to  14 percent increase in testosterone and a 48 percent increase in cortisol, the anti-stress hormone.

Of course, this has its grounds in evolution. When two people are attracted to each other, they begin to mimic each other’s movements and using the same body language unconsciously. The researchers he cited concluded that “women may release steroid hormones to facilitate courtship interactions with  high-value men“. This, of course, has an evolutionary basis. Women seek the best mate that will be able to provide the most for them. Men and women who are more attractive are also more intelligent on average with the reverse holding true for fat people, who are uglier and less intelligent on average.

Though it would be to un-PC to conduct an experiment proving it, it stands to reason that looking at fat, ugly people depresses testosterone. This is certainly how any red-blooded man feels when looking at a hamplanet.

Depressed testosterone is associated with many negative health outcomes, and thus the mere presence of fat people is actively harming the population’s health — particularly men’s, since we’re more visual. We ban public smoking based on the minuscule effects of “passive” intake, so why aren’t the same lefty, public-health aware politicians clamouring for a ban on fat people being seen in public?

A study conducted on people’s hormonal response to the obese and overweight may indeed show a decrease in testosterone and cortisol. Though, these hormonal responses are temporary, which he doesn’t say.

Instead, the same lefties who want to stop us having fags or drinking too much in public (and even alcoholics and chain smokers are healthier than the obese) are the same ones urging the authorities to treat “fat-shaming” as a crime and investigate it. Insane!

There are, contrary to popular belief, obese people who are metabolically healthy. Blüher (2012) reviewed the data on obese patients and found that 30 percent of them were metabolically healthy with the obese patients having similar levels of insulin sensitivity similar to lean individuals.

Moreover, new research has found that having a BMI of 27 leads to a decrease in mortality. In a huge study of over 120,000 people, the researchers gathered people from Copenhagen, Denmark, recruiting people from 1976 to 2013. They were then separately compared to those who were recruited in the 70s, 90s, and 00s. Surprisingly, the BMI linked with the lowest risk of having died from any cause was 23.7 in the 70s, 24.6 in the 90s, and 27 from 2003-2013. Due to the results of this study, the researchers are arguing that BMI categories may need adjusting.

As shown in that 2014 study, young people in particular are concerned about what their peers think about them, especially when they start high school. That’s why it’s so critical to let them know that their instincts are correct, and that they can’t be “healthy at any size.”

If you can be unhealthy at any size, why can’t you be ‘healthy at any size’? As I’ve shown, those with a BMI of 27, on average, are metabolically similar to those with to those with lower BMIs. Since, in the study previously cited, BMI increased while mortality decreased, technological advancements in caring for diseases, such as Diabetes Mellitus, improved, this is one possible explanation for this.

Those with a BMI under 25 may still suffer from negative effects, the same as obese people. They may suffer from metabolic syndrome, high triglycerides, low HDL, small LDL particles, high blood sugar and high insulin. Those who are skinny fat need to worry more about their vital organs, as the fat deposits they carry are white fat which is wrapped around the vital organs in the body. These are some of the reasons why being skinny fat can be more dangerous than being obese or overweight: they think that because their BMI is in the ‘normal range’ that they’re fine and healthy. Clearly, sometimes even being ‘underlean’ can have serious consequences worse than obesity.

Then he brings up smoke shaming and bills being passed to stop smokers from smoking in certain public areas lead to a decrease in smoking, so fat shaming makes sense in that manner.

Except it doesn’t.

Humans need to eat, we don’t need to smoke. Moreover, since the rising rates in obesity coincide with the increase in height, it has been argued by some researchers that having an obese population is just a natural progression of first world societies.

Fat shaming doesn’t work. It, ironically, makes the problem worse. The physiological components involved with eating are a factor as well. It is known that the brain scans of the obese and those addicted to cocaine mirror each other. With this knowledge of food changing the brain, we can think of other avenues that do not involve shaming people for their weight, which increases the problem we all hate.



1 Comment

  1. Santoculto says:

    type and intensity/preference taste

    organic capacity to support it

    for example, why some people become alcoholics **

    first, they need to like alcohol or strong citrus flavors.

    what the brain will not always be like what the body can endure.

    men tend to have thicker blood than women, if I’m not wrong, so that they are more tolerant of alcohol.

    Now you can have a person who has blood thinner, and therefore less able to filter at the same time, high doses of alcohol and yet have a strong preference for alcoholic beverages.

    The alcoholic **

    The brain loves alcohol, but the body is not able to support it.

    I do not like alcohol and have relatively low tolerance for organic filter it in high doses.


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