Health Fusion: Teasing kids about weight. Not good.


Weight bias internalization. That’s when people apply negative weight-biased stereotypes to themselves. It’s not good, and researchers from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy say it can happen when family members tease or are critical of children about their weight.

In a study about this topic, the researchers asked families with kids ages 9-14 how many times those kids got teased or criticized about their weight by family members. They found that children exposed to negative weight talk from parents or siblings on nine or more occasions over a three-month period were eight times more likely to have moderate or high levels of weight bias internalization than those exposed to less frequent or no negative weight talk. They say even kids who get teased as little as three times a month can experience this issue.

Previous studies have linked weight bias internalization with self-devaluation, low self-esteem, poor body image and disordered eating behaviors.

This info was presented at Nutrition 2021 Live online.

In my opinion, teasing of any kind can really do a number on people – especially children. And we need to think before we talk and strive to be kind and supportive.

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