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Obesity is 'not a choice', top psychologists say



The report calls for an end to "fat shaming", saying stigma only adds to the problem

Obesity is not a choice and should not be treated as one, top psychologists have said in a new report.

The study by the British Psychological Society (BPS) concludes that obesity is "not simply down to an individual's lack of willpower" and that making people feel weightier will only result in them feeling worse about themselves.

Health professionals should be trained to be more supportive when talking to people about weight loss, the report says, calling for an end to the stigma around obesity.

The report recommends that there should be changes in language, such as describing someone as a "person with obesity" rather than an "obese person".

Psychologists say that a rise in obesity levels is far more complicated than laziness. "The people most likely to be unhealthy are those who have a high genetic risk of developing obesity and whose lives are also shaped by work, school and social environments that promote overeating and inactivity," it says.

"People living in deprived areas often experience high levels of stress, including major life challenges and trauma, often offering their neighbors few opportunities and incentives for physical activity and access to affordable healthy food."

Eating habits are also shaped by our childhood experiences, with many obese adults reporting difficulties in their early years.

According to the report, “fat shaming” from peers, public health campaigns or GPs can actually lead to further weight gain, leading to increased eating from further stress.

Comedian and presenter James Cordon recently spoke out against fat shaming on America's The Late Late Show, saying: "If making fun of fat people made them lose weight, there'd be no fat kids in schools and I'd have a six pack by now."

Updated: September 25, 2019 11:26 AM


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