Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, by now you’ve have heard of, read about, or watched the offensive and shaming #DearFatPeople video Nicole Arbour created in the name of “comedy”. You may have even seen one of the responses, which at least this awful video gets people talking and saying “this sh*t ain’t right.”
The Gasoline for Weight Stigma
It’s Not Just Adults Who Diet. It starts Early.
A 10-year study looked at dieting, unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors, and binge eating to determine if engaging in these behaviors during adolescence increased the risk for continuing them into young adulthood. The study involved 2,287 adolescents and young adults that were about half female and half non-white and divided participants into a younger group (average age ~13) and an older group (average age ~16).
At the beginning of the study approximately 50% females and 25% of males reported dieting in the past year. For females and younger males, this number stayed consistent through young adulthood. The number of dieters in the older male group actually increased as the study progressed.
Over 50% of females and 33% of males engaged in unhealthy weight control behaviors at the start of the study. Particularly alarming was that extreme weight control behaviors including diet pill use in all groups, and laxative use in young females increased significantly over the 10 year period.
Overall, those who reported dieting at the beginning of the study were more likely to continue this behavior. The same result was seen in regards to unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors and binge eating.
Other studies have linked dieting to weight gain, binge eating, disordered eating, and eating disorders. One study of 17,000 kids found that those who dieted were 8-12 times more likely to engage in binge eating than those who never dieted. Researchers from this study actually suggested that dieting may be at the root of the current obesity epidemic! These results were echoed in a twin study which showed that the weight gain associated with dieting is independent of genetic predisposition to weight gain.
This video provides more details on these studies.
These findings, suggest that we need to prevent these behaviors before they start.
NO CHILD OR TEEN SHOULD EVER DIET!!!!
Young people with weight concerns need to be guided towards healthy behaviors, including intuitive eating and physical activity and away from destructive dieting.
Healthy behaviors can start at home. Practice intuitive and mindful eating as a family. Focus on eating for physical hunger as opposed to emotional hunger. Also make fitness a family activity. Everyone can benefit from healthful eating and exercise, get the whole family involved in the healthy lifestyle and DITCH the DIET!
For more information from Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and her work with Intuitive Eating click here
Source: Neumark-Sztainer, D; Wall, M; Larson, NI; Eisenberg, ME; Loth, K. Dieting and disordered eating behaviors from adolescence to young adulthood: findings from a 10-year longitudinal study. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Jul;111(7):1004-11.
So… what should we do about #DearFatPeople?
I think one thing we need to do is loudly say that no amount of fat shaming is OK (and we need to listen to people who have been shamed!) They will tell you that family, friends, and medical professionals make them feel shame when they push and push and push for weight loss over healthy lifestyle as the goal. (At least that is what I hear time and again.) It’s as if their love is conditional. That’s just sad. What if someone makes the changes they want and don’t weigh what you think they should. Are you OK with that? I think we need to realize it’s not up for judgement. If we care about weight shaming, we need to also care about healthism, the idea that you can’t push health on people. Read what I have to say about it.
What Do You Think?
What do you think we should do about weight shame, stigma, dieting etc.? What were some of the best response articles and videos you found? Do you have a fat shame story? Share in the comments below.