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Why Fat Shaming Is So Shameful

Negative stereotypes of people with obesity have painful consequences—especially if those people come to believe the stereotypes are true. Scientists call this weight‐bias internalization, and they have cause to worry about it.

New studies suggest that weight‐bias internalization raises the risk of metabolic syndrome and poorer health. Researchers think this happens because the increase in stressors prompts metabolic changes, physiological arousal and emotional responses that lead to overeating. Many studies also suggest that weight‐bias internalization makes people less likely to be active.

Ultimately, there's no point in shaming people into eating better, exercising more, losing weight and improving health. All it does is worsen their morale and heighten their health risks.

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Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD

"Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP, is a board-certified pediatrician and obesity medicine physician, registered dietitian and health coach. She practices general pediatrics with a focus on healthy family routines, nutrition, physical activity and behavior change in North County, San Diego. She also serves as the senior advisor for healthcare solutions at the American Council on Exercise. Natalie is the author of five books and is committed to helping every child and family thrive. She is a strong advocate for systems and communities that support prevention and wellness across the lifespan, beginning at 9 months of age."

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