This week I ran across even more research that indicates that shaming fat people does not turn them into thin people. This is hardly the first time this sort of research has surfaced. I’ve talked about this many, many, many times. But somehow, it seems nearly impossible to get public policy people and health people to get it through their heads. They still advocate BMI report cards and singling kids out for special “health interventions” and still do not think they need to add “body size” to any of their legislation about bullying. And meanwhile, bullying against fat kids is getting worse.
Maybe we should make them all stay after class and write 100 times on the blackboard, “Shaming people does not make them happy, healthy or thin.” It doesn’t save our country money. It doesn’t save our children. Shaming people about their weight does not do anything positive at all. Shaming or bullying people about their weight:
- Makes them more likely to engage in unhealthy behavior.
- Makes them less likely to seek medical help.
- Makes them miss more school and get lower grades.
- Makes them sicker.
- Makes them heavier and puts them at greater risk for eating disorders.
Despite a mountain of evidence that dieting and shaming don’t work, and a mountain of evidence that dieting and shaming cause harm, we still have public policy and health experts suggesting that we help kids by shaming them and teaching them to diet. I think we just might have to give them all a piece of chalk and make them stay after school.
The Fat Chick