The common wisdom is that “helpful comments” (aka body shaming) might motivate people to lose weight. But the University of Minnesota’s Katie Loth has done extensive research on the effects of such shaming and has found that it hurts rather than helps.

Children and adults who experience weight stigma are vulnerable to higher rates of depression and anxiety, low self-esteem and low body satisfaction, and increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

They’re also at higher risk for engaging in disordered eating behaviors, including binge eating, and are more likely to avoid healthy behaviors such as physical activity.

What does work?

Modeling healthy eating and physical activity, making healthful food affordable and easily accessible, and not talking about numbers on the scale.

Gail Rosenblum