Risks of Body Shaming

Woman looking at her body in the mirror

These days, women, and an increasing number of men, are constantly under pressure when it comes to their bodies. From being told that they are not thin enough to feeling as though they do not look young enough, body shaming can come from both the outside as well as the inside. While this may not seem like too big of a deal, researchers have recently discovered that body shaming can be extremely detrimental, not only psychologically, but also in terms of physical health.

Fat Shaming Causes Weight Gain
Fat shaming is one of the most common forms of body shaming, yet many believe that, by fat shaming a person, they are doing them some good, providing them with motivation to lose weight. In reality, this could not be further from the truth, as a number of different studies have proven that fat shaming only causes the victim to feel ashamed, resulting in higher stress levels, which then drives them to seek out more calories.

An Increase in Infections
Studies have shown that women who have higher levels of body shame tend to experience more infections than those who are comfortable with their body image. One of the reasons behind this is that, when women are ashamed of certain aspects of their body, they tend to pay less attention to them, meaning that they miss out on vital signs that an ailment or an infection is taking root.

It comes as no surprise that those who suffer from body shaming are at a much higher risk for depression and other mental illnesses. Children that are body shamed while young are more likely to suffer from depression as teenagers and adults, putting a focus on weight instead of nutrition, which is always detrimental but especially so at that stage in life when the body is still growing. Of course, one of the common consequences of depression is suicide, and while this may seem extreme in terms of body shaming, it happens all-too-often.

Eating Disorders
Eating disorders can seriously affect general health, especially when they persist for a long period of time. From bulimia to anorexia to binge eating, body shaming has been linked to just about every eating disorder out there. Anorexia is believed to be one of the most fatal eating disorders in the United States, mostly because the rates of suicide connected with eating disorders are much higher than those linked to other psychological illnesses.

Body shaming can come about in many forms, from criticizing your own appearance to criticizing somebody else’s appearance. Whether just a subtle comment or extreme verbal bullying, body shaming perpetuates the idea that people should be judged by their personal appearance, and this is most definitely not the case. The best way to combat body shaming is to begin with yourself, working on developing a positive body image and encouraging others to do the same. If you are guilty of body shaming someone else, it goes without saying that it is time to stop, and remember that a positive comment can go a long way.


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