Overweight women may never escape the painful stigma of obesity – even after they have shed the pounds, new research suggests. 

The study, by the University of Hawaii at Manoa, The University of Manchester, and Monash University, examined whether anti-fat prejudice against women persisted even after they had lost significant weight and were now thin. 

The researchers asked young men and women to read vignettes describing a woman who had either lost weight (70 pounds/32 kilograms) or had remained weight stable, and who was either currently obese or currently thin. Participants were then asked their opinions about this woman on a number of attributes, such as how attractive they found her, and their overall dislike for fat people. 

The team found that participants in the study – published in the journal Obesity – expressed greater bias against obese people after reading about women who had lost weight than after reading about women who had remained weight stable, regardless of whether the weight-stable woman was thin or obese.

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