Angelina Sutin, a psychologist at the Florida State College of Medicine in Tallahassee, and a colleague analyzed survey data from more than 6,000 U.S. men and women age 50 and older asked on how often in their daily lives they experienced different types of discrimination, NPR reported. Examples ranged from discourtesy or refusal of restaurant service to not getting a job or promotion.
The survey also asked the respondents why they thought the discrimination happened. Was it due to their race or age, or sex, age or weight?
Four years later, a follow-up survey asked the same questions and changes in weight were noted, Sutin said.
"People often rationalize that it's OK to discriminate based on weight because it will motivate the victim to lose pounds," Sutin told NPR. "But our findings suggest the opposite."
People who were overweight and said they'd experienced discrimination based on weight were more than twice as likely to be obese four years later than people who didn't mention such discrimination.
The findings were published in the latest issue of the online journal PLoS One.