Numerous causes contribute to the nation’s obesity epidemic, including our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and the easy availability of high-calorie foods. Newly published research points to another, less-obvious factor that appears to be exacerbating the problem: The negative labels we attach to people who are overweight.
Ironically, this stigmatization often can be found in anti-obesity campaigns themselves. According to a research team from the University of California-Santa Barbara, this may actually make these well-meaning efforts counterproductive.
“Social messages targeted at combating obesity may have paradoxical and undesired effects,” writes a research team led by psychologist Brenda Major. Its study is published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
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