A new study from Yale University claims that weight discrimination is more widespread than previously imagined. Some of its findings:
- Men are not at serious risk of discrimination until their BMI reaches 35, while women begin experiencing an increase in discrimination at BMI 27.
- Moderately obese women with a BMI of 30 to 35 are three times more likely than men in the same weight group to experience weight discrimination.
- Compared to other forms of discrimination in the United States, weight discrimination is the third most prevalent cause of perceived discrimination among women (after gender and age) and the fourth most prevalent form of discrimination among all adults (after gender, age and race.)
As for how much control people can exert over their own weight, according to Rebecca Puhl (the study's author):
We place a lot of emphasis on personal responsibility for body weight. Our billion-dollar diet industry is founded on that premise. Your weight is modifiable. But that does not reflect the current state of science. We know from hundreds of randomized clinically controlled trials that it's very difficult to sustain weight loss over time with our existing treatment methods. That has compelled a number of expert panels, like the National Institutes of Health, to conclude that we really can't expect you to lose more than 10 percent of your body weight and be able to keep that off.
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