Fat women are subjected to the painful stigma of obesity, even after they lose their weight, revealed a latest study on the subject.
An international team of researchers have found that fat women prejudice persist even after their weight loss.
The finding was the result of a study among a group of young women and men which examined whether anti-fat prejudice against women persisted even after they lost significant weight and became thin.
The participants were asked to answer a questionnaire about a group of women who had either lost weight (70 pounds/32 kilograms) or had remained weight stable.
The team found that participants in the study expressed greater bias against obese women, who had currently lost her weight compared to women who had chosen to remain stable.
"We were surprised to find that currently thin women were viewed differently depending on their weight history. Those who had been obese in the past were perceived as less attractive than those who had always been thin, despite having identical height and weight," said Dr Janet Latner, researcher at the University of Hawaii.
One of the more disturbing findings from the study, the researchers noted, was that negative attitudes towards obese people increase when participants are falsely told that body weight is easily controllable.
"The message we often hear from society is that weight is highly controllable, but the best science in the obesity field at the moment suggests that one's physiology and genetics, as well as the food environment, are the really big players in one's weight status and weight-loss," said Dr Kerry O'Brien, researcher at the University of Manchester's School of Psychological Sciences and Monash University in Melbourne, in a statement.
"Weight status actually appears rather uncontrollable, regardless of one's willpower, knowledge, and dedication. Yet many people who are perceived as 'fat' are struggling in vain to lose weight in order to escape this painful social stigma. We need to rethink our approaches to, and views of, weight and obesity," he added.
The study has revealed that obese women can never get escape from the painful stigma of obesity, even after they lose their weight. Obesity stigma is so powerful and enduring that it appears to even outlast the obesity itself.
"Descriptions of weight loss, such as those often promoted on television, may significantly worsen obesity stigma. Believing that obese people can easily lose weight may make individuals blame and dislike obese people more," Dr Latner added.
"The findings demonstrate that residual obesity stigma persists against individuals who have ever been obese, even when they have lost substantial amounts of weight. Obesity stigma is so powerful and enduring that it may even outlast the obesity itself. Given the great number of people who may be negatively affected by this prejudice, obesity discrimination clearly needs to be reduced on a societal level," she concluded.