Obese targeted at workplace

September 27th, 2011 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Sep 27 (IANS) Obese individuals seem to be stigmatised at the workplace and in cultural settings, which has a negative bearing on their health, social behaviour and outcome, researchers say.

A new study, led by Samantha Thomas of Monash University, looks at how obese individuals respond to different types of the stigma encountered in their daily lives.

“Not only are obese individuals depicted as lazy, gluttonous, unmotivated, and unhealthy but scientific research constantly reinforces a link between obesity and a range of medical, economic and social costs for members of the community,” said Thomas.

“The physical visibility of the fat body also means that this negative public gaze is inescapable for those who are classified as obese,” added Thomas, the journal Social Science and Medicine reports.

The study focused on three types of weight-based stigma, including direct (being abused when using public transport), environment (not being able to fit into seats on planes), and indirect (people staring at the contents of their supermarket trolley).

Study participants described how more subtle forms of stigma had the most impact on their wellbeing. However, participants rarely challenged stigma, and felt that they deserved it, according to a Monash statement.

The study showed that many avoided participating in activities that would improve their physical and mental health.

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