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.