In addition to causing emotional and mental stress, calling young women "fat" may also increase their risk for obesity, according to a new UCLA study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The study found that girls who were called "fat" at age 10 were 66 percent more likely to be obese by the time they were 19.
"Simply being labeled as too fat has a measurable effect almost a decade later. We nearly fell off our chairs when we discovered this," A. Janet Tomiyama, an assistant professor of psychology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science and the author of the study, said in a statement. "It's not just that heavier girls are called too fat and are still heavy years later: Being labeled as too fat is creating an additional likelihood of being obese."
Dr. Tomiyama also suggests that girls may be more likely to become depressed or develop unhealthy eating habits after being mocked for their weight. The body positive movement is gaining traction among teens and adults, but the study's findings prove that instilling positive thinking and healthy habits in children is just as vital.