Over half of surveyed overweight adults in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and the United States say they have experienced fat-shaming from doctors, family, friends, classmates and coworkers that led to self-blame and an avoidance of health care, new research finds.
Weight stigma is so prevalent and so detrimental to a person's self-worth and willingness to seek health care, that it has become a matter of "social injustice and a significant public health issue," said Rebecca Puhl, the lead author of two new studies on the topic."Stigma is an enemy to health," said Puhl, who is deputy director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut. "And just like mental health, weight stigma is a legitimate public health issue, and we need to legitimize it in a way that really hasn't been done yet."
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