Effects of weight stigma on BMI and inflammatory markers among people living with obesity.

TitleEffects of weight stigma on BMI and inflammatory markers among people living with obesity.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsNicolau, J, Tofé, S, Bonet, A, Sanchís, P, Pujol, A, Ayala, L, Gil, A, Masmiquel, L
JournalPhysiol Behav
ISSN Number1873-507X
KeywordsAdult, Body Mass Index, C-reactive protein, Ferritins, Humans, Hydrocortisone, Obesity, Weight Loss, Weight Prejudice

OBJECTIVE: Weight stigma (WS) and prejudice are one of the most prevalent ways of discrimination among adults, comparable with rates of racial discrimination. Exposure to WS among patients with obesity (PWO) may make the adoption of healthy dietary patterns and regular physical activity even more challenging and, therefore, the achievement of weight loss. Additionally, WS could also induce physiological responses such as increased levels of inflammatory markers, due to stress exposure.

METHOD: Subjects attending two obesity clinics were evaluated at baseline and after a minimum follow-up of six months. The weight Bias Internalization Scale (WBIS) and the Stigmatizing Situations Inventory (SSI) were administered to evaluate WS. Also, anthropometric and inflammatory markers, including cortisol, ferritin and C-reactive protein (CRP), were recorded at baseline.

RESULTS: 79 PWO (87.3%♀, 45.5 ± 1.3 years, 35.9 ± 6.3 kg/m) were included. At baseline, 72.2% started liraglutide as anti-obesity drug. Baseline body mass index (BMI) correlated positively with both WBIS (r = 0.23; p = 0.03) and SSI (r = 0.25; p = 0.02) scores. Mean percentual weight loss after a mean follow-up of six months was -7.28%. However, there was a negative, but not statistically significant, correlation between weight loss and both WBIS (r=-0.14; p = 0.2) and SSI (r=-0.19; p = 0.08). Regarding inflammatory markers, plasma cortisol levels at baseline correlated positively with WBIS (p = 0.005) and SSI (p = 0.02). CRP at baseline also presented a positive correlation with SSI (p = 0.03). No significant correlations were found for stigma tests and ferritin levels.

DISCUSSION: As weight increases among PWO, so does stigma. Despite we did not find a significant negative association between the presence of WS and weight loss outcomes, there was an increase in inflammatory markers among PWO who experienced higher levels of WS.

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Citation Key13096
PubMed ID36657653