Fat shaming linked to cardiometabolic risk

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Experts are warning that great care is needed when advising obese patients about the need to lose weight

Patients with obesity who feel blamed or shamed for their weight may have heightened cardiometabolic risk, according to the findings of a major new study are published in Obesity.

A total of 159 adults with obesity participating in a larger clinical trial testing the effects of weight loss medication, completed baseline questionnaires which measured depression and weight bias internalisation (WBI) before any intervention was given. Participants also underwent medical examinations.

The researchers found that those with high weight bias internalisation were three-times more likely to have metabolic syndrome, and six-times more likely to have high triglycerides, when compared to participants with low internalisation.

Lead author, Rebecca Pearl, from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania in the US, said:“As healthcare practitioners, we can help challenge negative, internalised stereotypes by educating patients about the complex biological and environmental factors that contribute to obesity, while providing concrete strategies to help patients manage their weight and improve their health.”

The authors said replication of the results is needed to determine the relationship between WBI and metabolic syndrome “above and beyond relevant demographics and health-related covariates”.

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