Calling a young girl fat can ‘lead to obesity’’

29 April 2014

If a ten-year-old girl is told she is too fat by a parent, sibling, friend, classmate or teacher she is more likely to be obese at the age of 19, suggests a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The study measured the weight and height of 2,379 girls from different ethnicities and locations. Fifty-eight per cent had been told they were too fat at the tender age of ten.

Researchers discovered that those who had been labelled as overweight as a youngster were 1.66 times more likely to be obese at the age of 19, compared to girls who hadn’t been told they were too fat.

A. Janet Tomiyama, senior author of the study, said: "Simply being labeled as too fat has a measurable effect almost a decade later. We nearly fell off our chairs when we discovered this.

“Even after we statistically removed the effects of their actual weight, their income, their race and when they reached puberty, the effect remained.”

Jeffrey Hunger, co-author of the study, said the consequences of being labelled as fat as a young age means that stress is increased, which can lead to overeating and further weight gain.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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