…Youngsters who report teasing, rejection, bullying and other types of abuse because of their weight are two to three times more likely to report suicidal thoughts as well as to suffer from other health issues such as high blood pressure and eating disorders, researchers said.
"The stigmatization directed at obese children by their peers, parents, educators and others is pervasive and often unrelenting," researchers with Yale University and the University of Hawaii at Manatoa wrote in the July issue of Psychological Bulletin.
Several studies showed that overweight girls got less college financial support from their parents than average weight girls. Other studies showed teasing by parents was common. "It is possible that parents may take out their frustration, anger and guilt on their overweight child by adopting stigmatizing attitudes and behavior, such as making critical and negative comments toward their child," the authors wrote, suggesting further research is needed.
"An alarming finding of this research was that obese children had (quality of life) scores comparable with those of children with cancer," the researchers reported.
McAfee, who now works for the Council on Size and Weight Discrimination, said her childhood experiences even made her reluctant to see a doctor when she needed one. She recalled one doctor who said she looked like a gorilla and another who gave her painkillers and diet pills for what turned out to be mononucleosis.
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