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by Kevin Coupe

The New York Times this morning reports that “at a time when global health officials are stepping up efforts to treat obesity as a worrisome public health threat, some researchers are warning of a troubling side effect: growing stigma against fat people.”

The story notes that a recent study by the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University suggests that “negative perceptions about people who are overweight may soon become the cultural norm in some countries, including places where plumper, larger bodies traditionally have been viewed as attractive ... One reason may be that public health campaigns branding obesity as a disease are sometimes perceived as being critical of individuals rather than the environmental and social factors that lead to weight gain.”

The study isn’t considered large enough to be conclusive, and experts say that more study is necessary.

But at the very least, the initial findings suggest that the people who are helping to frame the public discourse about this important issue need to be careful with their words and actions.

That shouldn’t be an Eye-Opener, necessarily. But it is.
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