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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Minnesota: Weight-based Teasing Harms Youth from Immigrant Communities in Same Ways as Those from Non-immigrant Communities

A new study using Project EAT data from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health recently examined the threat of weight-based teasing among youth from immigrant communities in the state and found it harms them as frequently — and in the same ways — as young people from non-immigrant communities.  

Researchers studied weight-based teasing by family members from Latinx, Hmong or Somali immigrant communities to see if it is connected to several common health problems, including unhealthy weight control behaviors, poor body satisfaction, low self-esteem and depressive symptoms. The study, led by adjunct faculty, Dr. Marla Eisenberg and co-authored by professor, Dr. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, was recently published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

The study found:

“We were a bit surprised at the consistency of the relationships between family weight-based teasing and the health issues we studied,” said Dr. Eisenberg. “Weight-related terms that are often considered negative in mainstream U.S. culture may be terms of endearment in other languages or communities, so we thought they might not be as hurtful for some groups. However, that is not reflected in these findings.”

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