While it may seem harmless to constantly remind a child of what you perceive to be their overweight, fat-shaming children could have devastating psychological effects on the child’s future weight as an adult.

According to a new data study, children that were categorized as being obese by their parents went on to become obese adults than children that had a similar weight to them and were not labelled as overweight by their parents.

The study states that children that were labelled as overweight, were also found to be more prone to going on numerous diets unsuccessfully, and resorted to comfort eating because of feeling stigmatized.

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The data study was done by Eric Robinson of Liverpool University and Angelina Sutin of Florida State University – who analyzed two large and extensive studies that were tracking child development.

The first big study that was analyzed had tracked children in 4983 families. The children were tracked for about 10 years from ages 4-5 years old to 15-16 years old. As part of the study, the parents of these children had to say whether they considered their children to be underweight, normal weight, somewhat overweight or very overweight.

“Children who were perceived as being overweight at age 4 or 5 gained more weight over the next decade, in part because they perceived themselves to be overweight. The children also made attempts to lose weight through dieting at age 12 or 13 than the children who were perceived as normal weight earlier in childhood,” the researchers wrote.

This is despite the fact that 1/5 children part of the study were overweight while their parents perceived them as normal weight.

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The second study that was analyzed tracked children from 8568 families at two points of their lives – at ages nine and 13 – and researchers found the same result as the first study.

Compared to the children who were overweight but perceived by their parents to be normal weight, the children that were perceived by their parents to be overweight had gained significantly more weight when they were 13.

“Across the two studies, we replicated the finding that children who parents perceive them to be overweight are likely to gain more weight than peers whose parents don’t consider them to be overweight [even though they are],” the authors concluded.

–Source: Daily Mail