US Exports Its Fat-Is-Evil Perception Around the World

Anthropologists see stigma showing up in other nations for first time
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2011 1:26 PM CDT
US Exports Fat-Is-Evil Perception Around the World
The stigma against being overweight seems to be spreading around the world.   (Shutterstock)

Nice job, America. Your obsession with body weight is now making people in other countries feel bad. So say anthropologists who surveyed attitudes about weight around the world and found that a "fat stigma" is showing up for the first time in places such as American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and Paraguay—where having extra pounds has long been seen as a good thing, reports the New York Times.

Researchers figure the campaign against obesity in the West is a main contributing factor. “The change has come very, very fast in all these places,’’ says one Arizona State University professor. “Of all the things we could be exporting to help people around the world, really negative body image and low self-esteem are not what we hope is going out with public health messaging." (More overweight stories.)

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