There has been growing evidence
that weight-based stigma can contribute to negative health outcomes in
overweight and obese individuals. A new study looked closely at how
those struggling with obesity have internalized weight-based stigma and
shame, and how such feelings increase health risks, specifically
metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors that increase the
likelihood of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.
participants in the study were a part of a larger weight loss study in
which they completed the Weight Bias Internalization Scale — a measure
of the extent to which individuals apply weight stereotypes to
themselves. Subjects also completed a questionnaire which the team used
to determine participants' criteria for depression and metabolic
The study ultimately found that those with high levels of internalized weight bias were found to be at a three times greater risk of metabolic syndrome.
Subjects with high weight bias internalization were also six times more
likely to have high triglyceride levels, which can lead to
atherosclerosis, which is a buildup of fatty substances in the wall of
the arteries that can raise the risk of heart attack and stroke.
act of self-stigmatizing may lead to a state of physiological arousal
that itself increases risk for metabolic abnormalities through
biological pathways (e.g., cortisol secretion),” the study authors
explain. “This state of physiological and affective stress may also lead
individuals to cope by eating unhealthy food or binge eating."
more than ever, multidisciplinary efforts in healthcare are essential
to effectively supporting patients to achieve a healthy weight. The
authors note that, “Providers can play a critical role in decreasing
this internalization by treating patients with respect, discussing
weight with sensitivity and without judgment, and giving support and
encouragement to patients who struggle with weight management.”
If you are a provider that is new to weight loss, and are unsure about how to sensitively approach weight with your patients, learn more
about how you can access Robard’s complimentary educational tools that
teach you how to get the conversation started. For dieters who struggle
with internalized stigma, try these tips and affirmations to help you develop more positive body image through your weight loss journey.
Source: Medical News Today
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation