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Negative reinforcement may work in some situations, but not so much in the overweight population. A new study has found that weight discrimination may only increase the likelihood of an overweight person to gain even more weight and maintain it over time, as well as lead a non-overweight person to actually gain weight later on.
Previous research suggests that weight discrimination could lead to depression, low self-esteem and other poor psychological outcomes. A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, led researchers suspect that people who are experiencing or have experienced any type of weight discrimination are more likely to develop unhealthy behaviors as coping mechanisms such as binge eating and avoiding physical activity.
This new study found that among people who were not obese, those who reported experiencing weight discrimination were 2.5 times more likely to become obese just four years later - while those who were obese during the study and experienced weight discrimination were three times more likely to remain obese compared with those who were obese but did not feel discriminated against.
Weight bias is one of the most socially accepted forms of discrimination which is perhaps justified by the misconception that such discrimination may motivate people to lose weight. It’s a vicious cycle that is even perpetuated by some media campaigns. While there are anti-obesity currently under scrutiny for shaming and even blaming those affected by obesity.