Weight Discrimination and its Effect on Quality of Life

Obesity is currently highly stigmatized around the world. Individuals who are overweight or obese tend to be susceptible to negative bias, prejudice and discrimination. This occurs in various settings such as the work place, educational institutions, health care facilities and interpersonal relationships.

According to a recent study funded by Cancer Research UK, adults who feel discriminated against on due to their weight have a 70% increase in depression and a 14% drop in overall quality of life (QoL) compared with those who do not.

Weight discrimination can manifest itself in various forms, such as getting treated with less respect, receiving poor service at various establishments and more serious threats. All these have an impact, reducing one’s quality of life.

Depression as an effect of weight discrimination also reduces one’s quality of life by increasing problems that lead to obesity such as emotional eating. Emotional eating is a disorder where an individual resorts to eating (especially unhealthy food) when dealing with any emotional distress.

Weight discrimination can also lead to social isolation, where an individual reduces social contact with people outside their comfort zone. This leads to an individual spending days or weeks in the house and hampers the creation meaningful relationships.

Weight discrimination Discourages Weight Loss

Individuals who are obese tend to receive negative attention and comments about their situation, even from health experts. This discourages them from seeking the required help they need. Lack of exercising or a proper healthy diet will discourage an obese person from losing weight, trapping them in a cycle of weight gain. That is where different measures come in, such as surgery or other medical treatments, in order to offer solutions.

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