Wednesday, April 2, 2008


For the past six years, the Review has been reporting on this topic, virtually alone in the media. You can find our news archives here

ABC NEWS It's illegal to discriminate against someone because of race or gender, but our culture condones a bias against people who are overweight. There are no federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of weight, and only Michigan has such a law, according to a new study from Yale University.

As a result, the researchers contend, weight discrimination is spiraling upward. . . Weight discrimination "occurs in employment settings and daily interpersonal relationships virtually as often as race discrimination, and in some cases even more frequently than age or gender discrimination," the researchers report in the current issue of the International Journal of Obesity. Overweight women are twice as vulnerable as men, and discrimination strikes much earlier in their lives, the report states.

"This is a form of bias that remains very socially acceptable in our culture," research scientist Rebecca Puhl, lead author of the study, said . . . Puhl, who has been studying weight discrimination for nine years, said our culture has made it clear that it's wrong to discriminate against someone because of race, color, creed, gender, age and so forth, but that it's OK to show someone the door because he or she is fat.

"We send a message to citizens in our culture that this is something that is tolerated," she said. "We live in a culture where we obviously place a premium on fitness, and fitness has come to symbolize very important values in our culture, like hard work and discipline and ambition. Unfortunately, if a person is not thin, or is overweight or obese, then they must lack self-discipline, have poor willpower, etc., and as a result they get blamed and stigmatized.". . .

"We know from hundreds of randomized clinically controlled trials that it's very difficult to sustain weight loss over time with our existing treatment methods. That has compelled a number of expert panels, like the National Institutes of Health, to conclude that we really can't expect you to lose more than 10 percent of your body weight and be able to keep that off.". . .

The heart of the problem, Puhl said, is that obesity brings social stigmatism and stereotyping, and that can lead to depression, discrimination and binge eating, so the problem just gets worse.


At April 2, 2008 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, lets make being fat socially acceptable so we can all be fat guilt free. Oh but then lets make sure to slap a tax on Big Macs so we can pay for the additional cost of fat people. Sure, makes sense... not!

At April 2, 2008 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The In-crowd always need outsiders, so if they can't ridicule and abuse blacks or yellows, they'll go after fatties or blondes or red-heads, or Catholics or Jews or druggies or whities or females or shorties or . . .

This is normal, natural human behaviour that increases cohesion and bonding among the group - at the cost of imposing a primeval nightmare for the dispossessed. When it is institutionalized for political gain, it is a form of tyranny. No group of Americans should ever be exploited and abused this way.

At April 3, 2008 3:18 PM, Blogger Sandy said...

Even so I think that there are a lot of companies out there that could benefit from sensitivity training!! I should know, I was a victim once! We still have a lot of work to do!! If an employee works hard and gets the job done so be it. We must not be silent. We must act and act today!!
Please help and sign:
for every discriminated person you have ever cared about!! For our children in the future!!

At April 3, 2008 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you choose to be overweight, learn to deal with the possible attendant consequences, and get over it. Your problem is not my problem, and I refuse to be guilt-tripped over it.

If your obesity is the result of medical problems outside the parameters of your immediate control (diet, exercise, etc.) you have my sympathy, but again it is your responsibility to do something toward its alleviation. If you are unable to get that help because of a lack of access to health care, you definitely have my sympathy. But if you can get help, and choose to do nothing, again, don't expect to have any success in inducing a sense of guilt in me for your problems. And don't expect me to finance them either.

At April 4, 2008 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your sympathy sounds pretty hollow.

If you hate fat people,(which your post seems to suggest) then work to end government subsidies for junk food. Junk food contributes to obesity, and your tax dollar is financing that. So why don't you work to end a cause, instead of whining about fat people.

It's so nice you have sympathy for overweight people with reasons for it you are comfortable with. But on the street or at the job, do you take the time to find out politely why a person is fat, or do you act like a bigot, only becoming civil after you discover they have what you consider a legitimate excuse? And who are you to say what a legitimate excuse is?

You never know, you might have a health problem someday, one that gains you a lot of extra weight. I've seen it happen to enough people to know that a person who was once skinny can become very fat in a pretty short time.

By the way, people who are a little overweight actually have better longivity then the very thin or ideal weight person, so maybe a little fat is good for humans.

All fat people want is a fair shake in society, and a little civility in public spaces. They don't want your lame sympathy.

At April 4, 2008 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If suggesting to someone that they bear a certain amount of resposibility for their own health and well-being is offensive to you, 1130, then I suspect your own level of basic common sense must be pretty hollow.

An even better way to end the subsidies to junk food manufacturers would be for the majority of Americans (such as, I imagine, yourself) to cease consumption of their products. But that might require self-discipline, a trait that's fairly incompatible with the desire to have society be your personal nanny. I don't 'hate fat people', I hate whiners who expect everyone else to assume the brunt of their self-chosen behaviors. But I can see how you might get the two mixed up.

Yeah, 1130, 'a little weight is good for' EVERYBODY. Without a little weight, we'd all be skeletons, not a condition normally associated with good health or longevity. Many additional pounds of avoirdupois are not 'good for' anybody.

I don't 'take the time to find out why' anyone is fat, since I'm not in the habit of going up to complee strangers on the street and inquiring of them in regard to their physical traits or appearance. Nor do i behave like a bigot to them. Is your imagination at such a degree of paucity that you can imagine no level of behavior between those extremes? or are you simply so rudely on the self-defensive when in public that you tend to court the very reactions you decry?

Judging from the quills sticking out of your above post, I can only guess the answer to that one.

At April 4, 2008 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the Fatso Drama Queen Society is back at it again. "Look at me! Look at me! I'm a victim!"

Don't worry, we're looking at you, honey. You're pretty hard to miss, LOL.

At April 4, 2008 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So which is it, 11:30? Extra weight is the result of health problems or extra weight is healthy? Sound to me like you're trying to have it both ways.

At April 4, 2008 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, with fat folks, as with all other self-proclaimed "victims", the rest of us should just put our brains in park, and make no attempt to balance or examine the validity of their claims. No wonder we've become a society that has lost any ability whtsoever to differentiate between good or bad, right or wrong, wise or foolish. Don't think, for god's sake, you might offend somebody!

At April 4, 2008 11:13 PM, Blogger Sandy said...

I agree with you whole heartedly this individual sounds like he/she is full of isms!! hatred never begats productivity but civility will!!
please help and sign:
This must stop!

At April 4, 2008 11:15 PM, Blogger Sandy said...

Sorry my link got cut up!!
click on my pic or click on this!

At April 4, 2008 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mocking other people differences merely reflects upon the poor character of the detractor: its helps them feel better about their own insecurities. Ignore the bigots: turning the other cheek helps end the cycle of hatred and intolerance.

At April 5, 2008 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overweight people are no different from any other people--they have an excuse for everything; and while sometimes the excuse is valid, more often, it's just that--an excuse. It's called human nature, honey. Fat people aren't exempt from it.


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