Calling Girls Fat May Make Them Obese

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics on Monday shows that girls who are called “too fat” are more likely to be obese as young adults, suggesting that the stigma associated with being overweight may only discourage healthier habits. The research tracked 2,000 girls who were asked at the age of 10 if they were ever called “too fat” by a family member or friend. Even with controlling for body mass index at the time, as well as race and household income, girls who were told they were “too fat” were more likely to be obese as adults. Still, researchers said the study was exploratory and the results were only associative, not causal. “This study is one step closer to being able to draw that conclusion, but of course we can’t definitively say that calling a girl 'too fat' will make her obese,” said senior author A. Janet Tomiyama of the University of California, Los Angeles.