Amidst all this talk of needing proper labels so we know what’s in the food we eat, it bears mentioning that some labels aren’t so good.

New research from the University of California Los Angeles, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, suggests that labeling a person as "too fat" from a young age may lead to behaviors that encourage obesity later in life. The team found that girls who were labeled as fat at age 10 were 1.66 times more likely to be obese by the age of 19, compared with girls who were not labeled as being overweight, according to a report from Medical News Today.

In addition, the researchers found that the greater the number of people who told a girl she was fat, the more likely she was to become obese almost a decade later. They said the findings suggest that simply being called fat can lead to behaviors that result in obesity.

"When people feel bad, they tend to eat more, not decide to diet or take a jog. Making people feel bad about their weight could increase their levels of the hormone cortisol, which generally leads to weight gain," wrote senior study author A. Janet Tomiyama, an assistant professor of psychology at the UCLA College of Letters and Science.

Study co-author Jeffrey Hunger, a graduate student at the University of California Santa Barbara, adds: "Being labeled as too fat may lead people to worry about personally experiencing the stigma and discrimination faced by overweight individuals, and recent research suggests that experiencing or anticipating weight stigma increases stress and can lead to overeating.


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That’s why programs like Girls on the Run Vermont are so important. This non-profit organization helps inspire girls to develop physical, emotional and social well-being, offering strategies for dealing with everything from body image and bullying to peer pressure and the media, in healthy, positive ways, including exercise. This interactive educational program, delivered by over 700 volunteer coaches across Vermont, fosters a sense of self-esteem, teamwork, compassion and community.

Now in its 15th year, Girls on the Run Vermont will hold its annual Southern Vermont 5K Run/Walk, on Saturday, May 17, at 10 a.m. at Brattleboro Union High School. This celebratory event is the culmination of GOTRVT’s 10-week after-school program for 3rd to 8th grade girls.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Scholarship Fund at Girls on the Run Vermont. This year, the Girls on the Run Vermont program, along with Girls on Track for 6th to 8th grade girls, will reach 3,000 girls throughout the state at over 140 schools.

If you have the time to help out with this great cause that helps our young girls stay healthy in body and mind, volunteers are needed at the 5K -- at the start and finish lines, at water stops and along the course. Individuals, families and groups -- school clubs, sports teams and others -- can sign up in advance by contacting event director Leslie Myette at 802-246-1476 orleslie@girlsontherunvermont.org.

~Brattleboro Reformer