I have another hero -Health Sociologist Dr. Samantha Thomas, Senior Research Fellow at Monash University’s Department of Marketing.
Dr. Thomas’ most recent research focuses on the stigma fat people face and the physical and mental effects of that stigma.
This is information that needs to get out there. Stigmatizing a group of people has consequences. Real consequences. Everyone keeps talking about how fat people are driving up health costs. Well what about the costs that are related to fat stigma-induced problems? It’s not the fat that’s the problem – it’s how the fat person is treated.
She has found that fat people avoid situations where they may feel stigmatized, which means they are avoiding activities that might improve their physical and mental health. How’s that for a vicious cycle?
One of the saddest things that has come out in Dr. Thomas’ research – most fat people don’t challenge the stigma they face because they believe they deserve it.
And she recognizes that doing something about fat stigma is going to be very complex because weight bias is everywhere and “inherent in the contemporary war on obesity.”
Dr. Thomas gets it.
Here is a link to an article about one of Dr. Thomas’ studies (for once, you will LOVE the photo that accompanies the article), and links to some of her research abstracts.