The National Science Foundation (NSF) is spending nearly $300,000 to study weight stigma, a project where obese people will text researchers to report when they have been mocked because of their size.
The head researcher on the project previously published a scientific paper that assumed Republicans are mean to fat people.
The five-year study theorizes that there is a vicious cycle where obese people eat to deal with weight stigma, gain more weight, and then face more weight stigma.
“Understanding societal stigma is foundational to the science of social psychology,” according to the grant for the project. “In an era of historically high obesity prevalence rates, one of the most pervasive and socially acceptable forms of societal stigma is weight stigma.”
“What happens to an individual who experiences such stigma?” the project asks.
The grant explains that the researchers will investigate a “comprehensive trio of consequences: increases in psychological stress, increases in comfort eating, and increases in cortisol, a stress hormone that itself can cause eating and fat storage.”