LighterLife has conducted a new survey that has revealed the shocking scale of abuse faced by overweight people in Britain, with nine out of 10 overweight Britons having been called a derogatory name due to their weight.
The survey of over 1,000 adults conducted by weight loss specialist LighterLife, revealed that the younger generation are the worse culprits with 56% of 16-24 year olds cited as responsible for name calling compared to 35% of 55-64 year olds.
When it comes to insulting friends and relatives, men are the most cruel with nearly a third admitting to name calling compared to just 11% of women. Shockingly, 33% of obese or very obese people admitted that they also called others names despite being overweight themselves. And it is friends who appear to receive the brunt of this abuse. Overall, 68% reserved abuse for their friends, 15% insulted their siblings while partners and parents are equal at 10% each.
Mandy Cassidy, a psychotherapist with LighterLife, said: “It’s sad that adults now find such behaviour acceptable, particularly so among the younger age groups, as they could well carry these views as they get older, thus increasing the problem even further.
People can appear to shrug off comments, she added, but inside, they can be devastated: “Often it is only through counselling that the full impact becomes clear – many of our clients have resorted to avoiding social occasions and decline invitations.
“Even some people who appear totally confident say that they become ‘really good liars’ and concoct a range of excuses for not attending events which can drive them indoors to eat as a way of dealing with their hurt and anger, compounding the problem.
“Just because someone is overweight, it doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to insult them. This type of prejudice isn’t tolerated in any other walk of life so we shouldn’t allow it here.”
LighterLife is a weight loss and weight management programme for people who are one stone or more overweight and with a body mass index of 25 or above. LighterLife has helped over 150,000 people to successfully lose weight since 1996.