Not only thinner but also ‘overweight’ people are found to be blatantly dehumanizing people with obesity


New research led by Doctor Inge Kersbergen & Doctor Eric Robinson, published in ‘Obesity’ studied whether obese people progress lesser than those without obesity.

The research team circulated an online survey which was completed by nearly 1500 participants which included people from India, UL, and USA. The partakers had to indicate on a scale of 1 to 100 how much they considered different groups of people evolved.

BMI of the participants was also recorded to check whether thin people dehumanized obese people blatantly more commonly & to find out if blatant humanization expected support for health policies that do discriminate against people on the base of their body weight.

The outcomes of the research indicated that the majority of participants rated obese people as less evolved & blatant dehumanization was typically common amongst participants who were thinner. However, it was observed that people who would be medically categorized under ‘overweight’ also blatantly dehumanized.

Doctor Robinson stated: “This is some of the first evidence that people with obesity are blatantly dehumanized. This tendency to consider people with obesity as ‘less human’ reveals the level of obesity stigma. It’s too common for society to present and talk about obesity in dehumanizing ways, using animalistic words to describe problems with food (e.g. ‘pigging out’) or using images that remove the dignity of people living with obesity. Obesity is a complex problem driven by poverty and with significant genetic, psychological and environmental components. Blatant or subtle dehumanization of any group is morally wrong and in the context of obesity, what we also know is that the stigma surrounding obesity is actually a barrier to making long-term healthy lifestyle changes.”

Doctor Kersbergen passed the following statement about this research: “Our results expand on previous literature on obesity stigma by showing that people with obesity are not only disliked and stigmatized but are explicitly considered to be less human than those without obesity. The fact that levels of dehumanization were predictive of support for policies that discriminate against people with obesity suggests that dehumanization may be facilitating further prejudice.”