Would you believe a group of people is being discriminated against all over the world, and it’s perfectly legal? According to a new global study, discrimination against fat people is at an all-time high. Anthropologists from Arizona State University asked people from different countries True or False questions. For example, “Are people overweight because they’re lazy?” and “Are big women beautiful?” The result? People everywhere had sky-high negative attitudes about overweight people, and tagged them with words like “ugly, lazy, and lacking self-control.” Researchers say the most alarming thing the study revealed is that in countries where plumper bodies have been viewed as attractive for thousands of years, like American Samoa, big shapes are now suddenly viewed as disgusting.
So, what’s causing a change in fat attitudes? Lead researcher Dr. Alexandra Brewis says it’s because new anti-obesity ads are programming people to blame heavy people for their huge size, regardless of whether it’s caused by a medical condition. For example, in Mexico, the latest anti-obesity public health campaign shows people with bulging stomachs eating greasy food, and in New York, subway stations are plastered with anti-obesity ads that show a person pouring fat out of a soda bottle with the message “Are you pouring on the pounds?” Experts say those ads are making people lash out at fat people like never before, treating them like 2nd class citizens. That's something they could never get away with if the person was disabled or of a different race. For example, a top cardiac surgeon recently announced he’d never hire anyone obese, and the hospital he works at supported him. A Pennsylvania college now requires overweight students to work out, or drop out. Right now, Michigan is the only state that bans discrimination based on weight, but lawmakers are pushing for states everywhere to protect the civil rights of the overweight.