Simply Being Called ‘Fat’ Makes Young Girls More Likely to Become Obese

from The results of a study led by UCLA psychologist A. Janet Tomiyama and colleagues show that girls who are told by a parent, sibling, friend, classmate or teacher that they are “too fat” at age 10 are more likely to be obese at age 19. The data used in the study came from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. The study assessed 1,213 African-American girls and 1,166 white girls living in Northern California, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. Fifty-eight percent of these girls had been told they were too fat at age 10. Each of the subjects had their height and weight measured at the beginning of the study and again after nine years. By and large, the researchers found that the girls labeled fat were 1.66 times more likely than the other girls to be obese at 19. Additionally, they found that as the number people who told a girl she was fat increased, so did the likelihood that she would be obese nine years later. The findings appear in the June 2014 print issue of the journal JAMA Pediatrics and appeared online April 28.

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