Social Stigma And Obesity

For many people, being overweight carries a huge social burden. Society puts a lot of pressure on people to look good, be skinny, and fit a certain size. What people do not realize is that all this pressure is actually one of the causes of America's growing waistline. The social stigma attached to overweight people is enough to send some into a depression, make others anxious, and cause some to be stressed. As if being overweight was not bad enough, adding these other maladies to the plate heightens the risk of heart disease in these individuals.

Overweight and obese people are subjected to an onslaught of burdens by society. Obesity itself is a medical condition, but the stigma that is attached is a psychological condition. People with weight issues are often the subject of torment, especially if they were larger growing up. Without knowing it, children can be incredibly mean.

They do not intend to hurt the individual, they are just brutally honest. A small child seeing an obese person walking down the street can ask their parent "why is that person so fat?" The parent tells the child to hush, but the overweight person has heard what was asked and the result is hurt feelings.

School children will make fun of those that are different while on the schoolyard. An overweight child oftentimes grows up to be an overweight adult because they have been told their entire lives that they are fat and lazy. People do not realize that words hurt. If repeated over the years, the words stick. This can lead to the obese person hating themselves, becoming depressed, becoming anxious, withdrawing from the world and remaining alone.

Overweight and obese people think badly enough of themselves without the rest of society telling them that they are, indeed, fat, lazy, ugly, will never find anyone to love them, will die young, have no will-power, and have no control over their own habits. By society constantly screaming this at them either directly or through television, movies, and magazines, they are just reinforcing these bad thoughts. Society is also more likely to discriminate against overweight people when it comes to hiring for new jobs and getting into colleges. This in turn leads to a stronger depression, anxiety, and more isolation.

People feel that if you are fat and depressed, there is an easy fix - just stop eating and you will feel better and the depression will go away. What they do not realize is that many obese people eat to fulfill some kind of emotional void. They eat because eating feels and tastes good so they feel slightly better. They begin to equate food with happiness and feel that by eating more, surely that will make them happier. What they do not realize is that they are actually self-defeating their own goals. It is a constant cycle between society and overweight individuals.

What people should do is realize that what they say and do affects others. It is like what your mother always said when you were young - "think before you speak". If more people did that then we would live in a far kinder and peaceful world.