Targets of Discrimination More Likely to Gain Weight
Wait. What ever happened to the bullies of the sandbox getting karmic retribution?
A study from Purdue University has shown that people who feel discriminated against are more likely to gain weight than other individuals. This relationship is especially true in men, who over the course of nine years had their waist circumference increase by an inch compared to men who were not discriminated against. Females showed an increase of half an inch.
The study surveyed 1,400 mostly white individuals between the years of 1995 and 2004. Discrimination was self-reported, and people who felt discriminated against felt that others were afraid of them, that they were treated less politely than others, or that they received poorer customer service than others. The study exempted individuals who felt they were discriminated against already because of their weight.
The reason for sex differences in weight gain is not known. A biological difference in body chemistries between men and women could be the cause, but potentially differences in stress response and coping mechanisms between men and women are responsible for this disparate weight gain. Or, maybe it's because men don't read Vogue and US Weekly?
Researchers believe that the stress hormone, cortisol, may play a role in not only the feelings of stress that come from discrimination, but also in the subsequent weight gain that people experience after feeling discriminated. The lead researcher, Haslyn E.R. Hunte, said, "There is some indication that stressors, such as interpersonal discrimination, can concentrate fat around the midsection. We're not sure why, and more work needs to be done to understand this connection between behavior and physiology."
One of the lessons here, kids, is that, regardless of your gender, perhaps you'll want keep those skinny jeans in mind next time you're about to lose your cool over some jerkface.
Source: Purdue University (2011, April 12). Study shows how discrimination hurts: lack of fair treatment leads to obesity issues. Retrieved from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-04/pu-ssh041211.php