Rudd Center In The News
Participants who reported experiencing weight stigma from others had higher levels of internalized weight bias than those who reported no experiences of weight stigma. Researchers say this was particularly true for participants who had weight-stigmatizing experiences early in life and continued to have these upsetting experiences as adults. People who experienced weight stigma from family members or friends, or from those in their workplace, community, or health care setting, also had greater evidence of weight self-stigma compared to participants who did not encounter weight stigma from those sources.
“Our findings can inform ways to support people who are experiencing or internalizing weight stigma, including opportunities to address weight stigma as part of weight management and healthy lifestyle programs,” said the study’s principal investigator Rebecca Puhl, PhD, a professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut.
Concern-trolling and fat-shaming are a huge problem in our society, and it’s important to remember that you can’t just look at a person, and tell if they’re healthy. (Plus, these types of comments are just rude, and entirely unnecessary.) Size and weight are not indicative of someone's health, as Rebecca Puhl, PhD, deputy director for the Rudd Centre for Food Policy & Obesity and professor in the department of human development and family studies at UConn, previously told Refinery29.
Among those providing testimony at a committee hearing was Jennifer L. Harris, a researcher at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, currently housed at the University of Connecticut. She and her team had conducted an earlier study of how sugary beverages are marketed to children. “What we learned about energy drinks stunned us,” she said at the hearing.
Energy drink companies had been pioneers in using social media to market their products, said Harris. At the time of her study, Red Bull and Monster Energy were the fifth and twelfth most popular brands on Facebook—a platform that was, at the time, particularly popular among college students and adolescents. Further, said Harris, “energy drink brands often promote teen athletes and musicians and sponsor local events, where they provide free samples, including to minors.” The marketing is effective, she noted. Sales of most other beverage categories were declining, but energy drink sales had increased by 19% the previous year, reaching $8 billion in 2012.
Contrary to popular assumptions, calling negative attention to people's weight does not motivate them to adopt exercise regimens or otherwise improve their health. In fact, research suggests the opposite: Weight stigma worsens quality of life for people on its receiving end, even increasing mortality rates -- probably because of such factors as increased stress and depression. There's strong backing for laws banning weight discrimination, as studies by my team at the University of Connecticut have shown. From 2010 to 2015, support for such provisions increased from 73% to 79%, in a representative sample of adults nationally. Notably, our most recent research found no differences in public support by political orientation.
Puhl, a professor in the department of human development and family sciences at the University of Connecticut, is deputy director of the university's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.
The Washington Post
06/18/2019: When You're Told You're Too Fat to Get Pregnant
“This tells us that it’s stigma, rather than one’s weight per se, that contributes to these adverse health outcomes,” says Rebecca Puhl, an author of the 2013 Yale study and the deputy director for the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut. “This evidence also challenges the notion that stigma will motivate people to lose weight.”