Slim people view the overweight as being “less evolved” and “less human” says a new study by researchers at the University of Liverpool.
Surveys distributed to 1,500 people divided across the US, UK and India, asked participants to give their weight and height (to calculate BMI) then rate how evolved various groups of people were on a scale of one to 100.
Overall, people were more likely to rate obese people as less evolved than others, and the lower someone’s BMI, the more likely they were to give the obese group lower evolution and “human-ness” scores.
Some of the papers asked participants whether they would prefer to donate to a charity that would benefit people in general or one that would fight animal cruelty, while in others they were given the choice of the same animal charity or one that would benefit obese people.
In instances where humanity, in general, would benefit, 40% suggested the money go to the people rather than the animal charity, but in the case of obese people, this number dropped to 16%.
“This is some of the first evidence that people with obesity are blatantly dehumanised,” said study co-author Dr Eric Robinson, a behavioural psychologist at the University of Liverpool.
“This tendency to consider people with obesity as ‘less human’ reveals the level of obesity stigma.”