For those who think labels don’t matter, you may want to have a look at a new study that suggests kids who are called fat at the age of 10 are much more likely to be obese a decade later. It seems a simple word can have a big effect on young women and stick with them later in life.
Science Recorder reports about the study from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that assessed more than 2,000 young girls over a period of about 9 years. What they found was that the children who had been told they were fat at age ten were 1.66 more likely to be obese by the age of 19. The study also finds girls who were told they were fat by more people had an even greater chance of being obese nine years later.
Researchers explain how they conducted the study to asses whether the “fat” label had anything to do with the weight gain. The study’s senior author A. Janet Tomiyama says, “Even after we statistically removed the effects of their actual weight, their income, their race and when they reached puberty, the effect remained. That means it’s not just that heavier girls are called too fat and are still heavy years later; being labeled as too fat is creating an additional likelihood of being obese.”
Finding proof that words really matter may be surprising to some. Tomiyama describes her team’s reaction to the data saying, “Simply being labeled as too fat has a measurable effect almost a decade later. We nearly fell off our chairs when we discovered this.”
What do you think of the new study that suggests simply labeling a child fat will increase their chances of being obese later in life?