Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Hurting doesn't help

"Fat-shaming" makes overweight people put on weight. It's time to be kind, not cruel.

A by-product of the good life brought on by prosperity in developed countries is that many people have put on weight. In fact, a recent study showed that 30 per cent of schoolchildren in the UAE could be classified as overweight or obese.

While the causes of obesity, and its treatments, are well understood, researchers have discovered a disturbing social trend that not only prevents overweight people from slimming down, it actually causes them to become heavier.

"Fat-shaming" is active discrimination against overweight people. As Florida State University psychologist Angelina Sutin says in health journal PLoS ONE, this discrimination "in addition to being hurtful and demeaning, has real consequences for the individual's physical health".

Stigmatising overweight people can lead to depression and further overeating, exacerbating their already considerable health problems. While shaming clearly does not work, gently encouraging overweight people to make changes in their lifestyle may do the trick.

Offering gold for weight loss, as they are doing in Dubai, may be an extravagant "first world solution", but it's far better than being nasty.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Lionel Richie performed many of his hits from the 1970s and 1980s at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Jaime Puebla / The National

Lionel Richie dishes out the hits to Dubai crowd

At his Dubai concert on Thursday, Richie greeted the audience with “Yalla habibi” – a statement of intent as his energy rarely let up.

Tyrese reunited with Fazza

Tyrese today posted on his social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) his pleasure at being reunited with the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

 Falconry is an activity where they demonstrate how falcons catch prey while flying at a speed of almost 360 kilometres per hour. Mona Al-Marzooqi / The National

In pictures: Adventure in the desert at Abu Dhabi's Qasr Al Sarab

Mohammad Ashfaq, an adventure guide at the Qasr Al Sarab resort, Abu Dhabi, showcases a day in his working life.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 An Egyptian Orthodox Christian priest give communion during the Palm Sunday service inCairo, Egypt. Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP

Region in focus - April 18, 2014

The best images of the last seven days from around the Gulf and across the Middle East.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National