The anti-obesity movement is an area of contention for many who are fighting the battle against weight stigma. It’s fraught with dangers, these experts say, especially for the student being bullied about weight.

Deb Burgard PhD, a psychologist and eating disorders expert, says “I don’t think there’s any question that because of the number of references to childhood obesity in the media and at schools [discussion of weight] is much more frequent than it used to be.”

“It’s all well-intentioned,” Burgard notes, but not for the many stigmatized kids she hears from who say, “When you talk about getting rid of childhood obesity, I think you want to get rid of me.” The message of the movement can be taken as, “These are the right groups to be from and these are the wrong groups,” she explains. “Kids say ‘I am fat,’ not, ‘I have fat.’ We have to make the environment, the world, a safer place for them.”

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