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Weight Stigma Among Teens

Exploring the relationship between weight teasing, race and socioeconomic status.

Teen with junk food appearing dejected from weight stigma

In addition to the problem of inactive teens, new research finds that weight stigma causes harm, and that those from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds and lower socioeconomic groups experience more weight teasing than those who are white and more affluent.

Experiencing weight teasing during adolescence is linked to more screen time, less sleep, more fast-food consumption, less breakfast, higher sugary beverage intake and higher BMI in young adulthood.

University of Minnesota researchers recommend that administrators and parents pay more attention to help reduce weight stigma and to address potential harm, particularly among young people from diverse ethnic/racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. Perhaps efforts to improve physical activity environments for America’s teens can go hand in hand with efforts to create welcoming settings for youth of all races, socioeconomic backgrounds, body types and ability levels.

The study is published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (2022; 19 [71]).

See also: Weight Bias: How Does It Influence Our Industry?

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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