A Vicious Circle: Being Overweight, Blaming Self, and Binging!

Being Overweight and Societal Weight Prejudice

Documented research points to the bias and stigma against individuals who are overweight or obese. These individuals are at an increased risk for health issues such as depression and anxiety, unhealthy eating behaviors, and even avoiding medical attention. People who experience weight stigma and prejudice start to blame themselves for the stigma, leading to ‘internalized weight bias’.

Research shows that such people’s physical and mental health is significantly impaired because of the weight bias. The associated stress may influence cardiovascular health and metabolic abnormalities, and also lead to unhealthy coping behaviors such as smoking, alcohol use, or binge eating.

A wellness coach has an opportunity to assess the clients’ experiences of weight stigma, and equip clients with adaptive coping strategies which can help buffer against the stress and negative health consequences.

(Latner JD, Durso LE, Mond JM. Health and health-related quality of life among treatment-seeking overweight and obese adults: Associations with internalized weight bias. Journal of Eating Disorders, 2013, 1:3. http://www.jeatdisord.com/content/1/1/3)(this post is adapted from article by Rebecca Puhl, http://boards.medscape.com/forums/?128@@.2a59ac26!comment=1)

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