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The Stigma And Sting That Is Obesity

The Huffington Post—February 1, 2010

By Helene Pavlov, M.D., FACR, Radiologist-in-Chief at Hospital for Special Surgery

The news of a research study appeared in one of my email newsletters and the findings astounded me. The study followed nearly 5,000 American Indian children from childhood to middle age and found that those who were obese as children were more than twice as likely to die of illness or a self-inflicted injury before the age of 55. The number of overweight and obese children has tripled since 1980, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 17 percent of U.S. children ages 2 to 19 years old are considered obese and almost 12 percent are considered the heaviest kids, according to a CDC study released in January. The findings of the study published in The New England Journal of Medicine detail the "serious health consequences" that children might face as they get older, lead study author Paul Franks said.

When you read between the lines, the findings, which will likely assist parents, social workers and medical professionals in helping children fight obesity, highlights an important factor in our country's obesity struggle.

Beyond the health implications there is a stigma associated with being obese. The stigma is something that very few would want to be associated with. The stigma of obesity is especially problematic for children. While many children are raised to be well behaved and polite there are a few that use things like obesity to torment and make other children feel badly about themselves. It is no surprise then that the study found that obese children may die from a self-inflicted injury as adults.

Read the full story at huffingtonpost.com.


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