January 30, 2019
Fat shaming racist and unhealthy
A Māori medical researcher says fat shaming is compounding deep seated racism against Māori.
Dr Isaac Warbrick from Auckland University of Technology’s Taupua Waiora Centre is the lead author of a new paper on fat shaming published in the international journal Public Health.
He examined perceptions of weight and racism towards Māori, and concluded when they are told they are fat and less productive because of their fatness, it’s just a new version of an old stigma.
Before the current alarming level of obesity, Māori were stigmatised, like many other colonised peoples, because of the colour of their skin, their beliefs and culture.
He says weight remains the primary focus for health interventions targeting Māori, with limited mention of psychological, spiritual or whānau well-being, and may actually cause harm.
Dr Warbrick called for indigenous-led solutions informed by indigenous knowledge, rather than existing approaches which blame individuals rather than challenge policies that favour commercial interests over health.
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