Monday, July 30, 2007

Why fit people dislike the obese

Overweight people are often bullied and discriminated against because ancient fears that fat humans may be diseased causes their thinner counterparts to dislike them, say scientists. In a study, reported in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour, the researchers have found that the mere sight of someone who is overweight can trigger feelings of disgust and nausea similar to encountering rotten food. Since bacteria and viruses are invisible, human brains have evolved to react to outward signs of disease like rashes and wounds, and these signs also include excessive body fat, suggests the study. "Antipathy towards obese people is a powerful and pervasive prejudice in many contemporary populations," the Daily Mail quoted the team from the University of British Columbia as saying. "Our results reveal, for the first time, that this prejudice may be rooted in multiple, independent mechanisms," the research team added. The study showed that feelings of disgust towards the obese were strongest in people with the greatest fear of disease. Participants who agreed with comments like "it really bothers me when people sneeze without covering their mouths" in the questionnaires given were found to be more likely to agree with statements such as "if I were an employer looking to hire, I might avoid hiring a fat person". "The research sounds reasonable enough I suppose; obesity is unhealthy and if there is something in us that helps us avoid ill health I can understand that," television presenter Anne Diamond, who helps people conquer obesity after briefly ballooning to 14st 9lb herself, said. "But I don't believe that in the 21st century we can use it as an excuse for prejudice. Obesity is an illness, but something becoming so common that it will soon be the norm," she added.


At July 31, 2007 at 6:33 AM, Blogger Nikon said...

Hi, thanks for the visit to my site - I love the photo of that obese cat :)

I think the researchers are right on that point - why healthy people dislike obese people.

At July 31, 2007 at 9:07 AM, Blogger Cuckoo said...

First, thanks for your visit on my blog. Keep coming.

I agree to most of your post. But it is not always that fat people are slow or lethargic, I have seen a very fat person having greater energy & stamina than most of us.

At July 31, 2007 at 11:37 PM, Blogger Vidya said...

Thank you for dropping by my blog!

I would like to think that is a good reason why people don't want to hire obese people. There are reasons like attitude problem, lack of self-control ( behavioral issues) and the fact that group insurance would also shoot up for the rest of the employees!

My two cents

At August 1, 2007 at 11:15 AM, Blogger GMG said...

Thanks for your visit and comment to my 90s blog.
Quite interesting your post; but today, when Daily Photo theme is Typical breakfast, I'm inclined to read it as part of the great conspiracy to ruin my diet intentions… ;))
To stay on the safe side, I’ll keep posting on Provence at Blogtrotter...

At August 1, 2007 at 11:44 AM, Blogger marie6 said...

Interesting!!! sad but true is the fact that obesity is becoming a norm in our lives.

At August 1, 2007 at 12:19 PM, Blogger Arthur said...

I think it's the fear of the thin people to become fat. and, in the Miss Universe contest, the contestants are very thin, so the people want to be as thin as the contestants, even men are looking for fitness.

Big greetings and big hugs.

Sweet Dreams, from the bottom of my Heart:

At August 1, 2007 at 12:22 PM, Blogger Gusthav said...

The society prefer thin people, 'cause the fat people looks like a ball, and our self-steem is not very high, so we -at least me- are worried to do excercise, eat light food. And maybe pay for a surgery to reduce the fat and size of our clothes, just to feel better.

Greetings and hugs

Nice Day, with my whole soul:

At August 1, 2007 at 3:52 PM, Blogger Rauf said...

Fat people are usually very popular, and are much liked and loved by their friends.An amployer may not hire a fat person, but i would offer my hand in friendship.

No one has proved that vegetarians live longer or fat people live shorter, or non vegetarian food makes one fatter, or vegetarian food is healthier.

They occupy a little more space, but i make up the balance when i sit with them.
Thanks for dropping by Mr. Prasad

At August 3, 2007 at 6:23 PM, Blogger Dawn....सेहर said...

Thanks for visiting my blog!
And I support what you say will see a lot here in America!
But I have seen some fat people who are active always have ample of energy to do things in fast and better way too! I guess more than fat or being big its how active one is in life.
Good post

At August 4, 2007 at 6:46 PM, Blogger Cynthia said...

Hi Raghu, thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope to see you again.

How big is big? 20 lbs overweight or 100 lbs? the range is large (no pun intended) and so I don't think that everyone can be painted with the same brush.

At August 6, 2007 at 9:01 AM, Blogger Kalyan said...

This is just another kind of stereotype and its indeed a very unfair practice!

At August 8, 2007 at 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey man,

You know, I read a news article recently that said obesity is "infectious". That is, if you have a friend or coworker who becomes overweight, you are more likely to become fat yourself. And the more people you know who are overweight, the more likely you are to become fat as well.


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