A new study published in Obesity journal, reveals that people who feel unattractive and devalue themselves because of their weight are at heightened risk of heart disease and type 2 Diabetes.
Researchers from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in the U.S. found that above and beyond the effects of body mass index (BMI) and depression, higher levels of weight bias internalisation were associated with increased risk for cardiovascular and metabolic disease.
Weight bias internalization occurs when people apply negative weight stereotypes to themselves, such as believing they are lazy or unattractive and devalue themselves because of their weight.
“There is a common misconception that stigma might help motivate individuals with obesity to lose weight and improve their health,” said lead author Rebecca Pearl.
“We are finding it has quite the opposite effect. When people feel shamed because of their weight, they are more likely to avoid exercise and consume more calories to cope with this stress,” Pearl added.They examined 159 adults with obesity who were enrolled in a larger clinical trial testing the effects of weight loss medication.
“Providers can play a critical role in decreasing this internalisation by treating patients with respect, discussing weight with sensitivity and without judgment and giving support and encouragement to patients who struggle with weight management – behaviours,” said co-author Tom Wadden.