Body

Contrary to Popular Belief, Calling Kids Fat Is Not Helpful

In fact, it could actually be doing your kids harm. Go figure.

Young girls who are repeatedly told they're fat are more likely to be obese as adults, according to new research. It turns out that when girls are told that they're overweight at a young age, they tend to be overweight later on. In a study of more than 2,000 subjects, girls who said that they were called fat as children were more likely to have a body mass index in the "obese" range than those who were not.

"We know from considerable evidence that youth who feel stigmatized or shamed about their weight are vulnerable to a range of negative psychological and physical health consequences," said Rebecca Puhl, deputy of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University.

The biggest impact seemed to come from family members who berated young girls. Girls who were told they were overweight by family had a 60 percent increased risk of obesity later on in life, compared to a 40 percent increase when the comments came from friends or teachers.

So the takeaway? Resist the urge to call anyone fat or overweight, and teach your kids the same. And don't bring it into your child's life, either, because you may do more harm than good in the long run. "There's no need to say the 'f' word at all if you want to improve your child's health." [Reuters]

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