Hunger, J. M. & Tomiyama, A. J. JAMA Pediatr, April 2014.
A recent study evaluated the long-term effects on weight gain in girls who were told that they were “too fat” at age 10 by their father, mother, brother, sister, best girlfriend, boy they like best, any other girl, any other boy, or teacher. These girls were followed for nine years and were found to have a higher likelihood of having a body mass index (BMI) in the obese range, independent of baseline BMI, household income, parental education, and race. The odds of obesity were highest if family members were the source of the “too fat” label. This study points out the relationship between weight stigma and weight gain and that both may begin early in life. The authors also stress that there are ways for parents to address weight and health issues with their children that do not involve labeling them as “fat.”