University of Connecticut Study Finds Racial Differences in Coping With Overweight Stigma

A new study by researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut finds that most groups of people who are overweight are subjected to discrimination and stigma. But there are differences about how certain groups cope with being overweight.

The study surveyed nearly 2,400 American adults asking if they had been treated unfairly, discriminated against, or made fun of because of their weight and how they coped with these experiences. The researchers found that Blacks were less likely than Whites to blame themselves for being overweight.

Lead author Mary S. Himmelstein, a postdoctoral fellow at the Rudd Center, stated that “our results suggest that we need to identify effective strategies for coping with weight stigma, and prioritize increasing racial and ethnic diversity in research on weight stigma. Failure to meaningfully examine racial identity means missing important and unique experiences which contribute to obesity-related health disparities.”

The article, “Intersectionality: An Understudied Framework for Addressing Weight Stigma, ” was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. It may be accessed here.

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