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Weight discrimination doubles health risk

A new study based at Harvard University has analysed the effect of weight discrimination over a 10 year period. Using a long-term national study in the USA, the researchers approached respondents who reported regularly experiencing discrimination because of their weight, this included, discourteous treatment, being called names, and being made to feel inferior as well as other feelings. They found that those experiencing regular discrimination had twice the risk of allostatic load, the cumulative dysfunction of bodily systems from chronic stress. Stress such as this is likely to lead to heart disease, diabetes, chronic inflammation and other diseases.

This effect is added to the fact that these people are already overweight and already experiencing negative health effects as a result. The researchers are hoping to highlight that the way we treat people who are overweight is incredibly important and can have more of an effect than we realise. Further to this they urge people to be more sensitive and understanding, especially when an individual is clearly trying to lose weight. The authors are hoping to use this data to inform public health campaigns in order to support individuals with obesity and help them lose weight.

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