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Fat, Obesity Consciousness Begins at 32 Months of Age in Kids, Says Study

New research from the University of Otago and Monash University shows that anti-fat prejudice may develop in children as young as 32 months of age and is strongly related to maternal anti-fat attitudes.

Published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, the study is the first to examine the relationship of parental anti-fat attitudes and infants’ toddlers preferences to obese versus average sized bodies.

“We found that younger infants, around 11 months of age, preferred to look at obese figures, whereas older toddlers around 32 months old, preferred to look at average-sized figures. More importantly we found that the preference for viewing average-sized figures was related to mother anti-fat attitudes,” said Professor Ted Ruffman.

The study, involving academics from New Zealand, Australia, and US, references research showing that obesity prejudice and discrimination is on the rise and is associated with social isolation, depression, anxiety and lower self-esteem.

Seventy infants and toddlers were shown photos of obese or average sized figures and their preferences to the images were assessed. In addition parent’s educational level, Body Mass Index (BMI) and children’s television viewing time, along with mothers anti-fat prejudice levels were also assessed.

“The preference for average versus obese figures was strongly related to maternal anti-fat prejudice. Other potential factors such as parental BMI, education and even children’s television viewing were not related to what sort of figure the child preferred to look at,” said Professor Ruffman.Obesity

Study co-author Associate Professor Kerry O’Brien from Monash University, said “weight-based stigma has significant social, psychological, and physical harms, particularly for young people. It is driving body dissatisfaction and eating disorders in underweight populations, alongside social isolation, avoidance of exercise and depression in very overweight populations. We need to find ways to address this prejudice and educate our young people to be confident in their bodies.”

The research addresses debate regarding the origins of anti-fat prejudice, with some suggesting innate physical fitness preferences may underpin dislike of fat figures, while others suggest the prejudice is learned through the social environment. The results suggest the prejudice is socially learned, which is consistent with other forms of prejudice. However, the research shows that this prejudice is learned very early in life.

Professor Ruffman says it is not meant to be a mother blaming exercise at all, parents live in a society where they are constantly told that obesity is bad so it is little wonder they may portray this to their children, but it does indicate how early children begin to absorb and display the attitudes around them.

[Source: Monash University, Australia]

One comment

  1. Anti-fat prejudice has nothing to do with obesity. For some obscure reason the Mainstream persists with their lies that excess calories and fats cause obesity, and that’s the cause! Should one reduce fat intake, they’ll consume more fattening carbs, and eat them more often.. as the stomach motility, (emptying) speeds up by 100%.

    Many believe , I too, that this misinformation is to make fats look bad.. to fatten which they don’t and to clog arteies which they actually protect, thus help market the useless and toxic 25B$ a year statins drugs. When the doc tells the trusting patient to lower their ‘bad’ cholesterol with statins, that makes sense, as they’ve heard the ‘fats are bad’ story every day. Yet..

    In 1974 Drs. Robert Atkins, MD. Richard Passwater, PhD. and the authors of the newly published physiology textbook for Med. Unis. Human Physiology, Vander, MD. and Sherman and Luciano PhDs. exposed the faulty calories (and cholesterol theories). From them we learnt that.

    It’s the carbs that fatten not fats, so calorie counting and portion size is meaningless. Digested carbs 1st top-up muscle and liver glycogen, stored sugar. The rest is rapidly converted to bodyfat in the cells’ mitochondria via the Krebs cycle. Digested fat only slowly converts to useable energy molecules in the liver. Fructose converts directly to body-fat in the liver, HFCS massively accelerates this pathway. We suspect HFCS to be the main obesity culprit!

    There also exist various homeostasis mechanisms that show calorie counting is meaningless. These mechanisms speed or slow metabolic rate, MR, depending on what, when and how much is eaten. One such mechanism, thermogenic effect is bone structure dependent, where a light-boned ‘ectomorph’ can quaff down a half gallon of heavily sugared, high HFCS ice-cream and.. weighs the same next day. They have an inherent rapid MR rate rise after such a meal. A heavy-boned endomorph gains fat on a slice of apple pie with their very low inherent MR rise.

    Eating low-fat creates 3 problems. Low fat meals speed stomach emptying by 100%, as fats need longer to digest. That leaves the dieter hungry soon after a meal, then they eat.. more carbs. Artery-protective nutrients in all high fat foods are lost resulting in accelerated heart disease and stroke. A low fat diet causes unused bile salts, (these needed to digest fat), to crystallize-out in the gall bladder. This forms very sharp, extemely painful ‘stones’ that need surgical gall bladder removal. 600K in the US every year have their gall bladders removed from following low-cal diets. Accurate, hard to-find food data is free on the tthairsolutions dot com site.

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