Skip Nav
7 Things Your Kids Will Remember About You When They're Grown Up
30 Questions to Ask Your Kid Instead of "How Was Your Day?"
Parenting News
School Makes an Example of Kids' Lunches to Warn — and Shame — Parents

Preschoolers Prejudiced Against Fat People

The Prejudice Kids Have Already Formed by Age 4

Elementary school educators spend a lot of time teaching children to love and accept all kinds of people. But a recent study suggests that children have "already absorbed an upsetting message: that fat is a negative indicator of a person's character, and that overweight people are undesirable as friends and as people" at an earlier age, The Atlantic reports.

In a study conducted by the University of Leeds, researchers found that kids' prejudice against fat people starts as early as preschool. Approximately 300 schoolchildren ranging from 4 to 6 years old were read a story about two friends who get stuck in a tree. In one version, both children are normal-sized. But in another version, one child is presented as overweight or disabled. When asked what they thought about the characters, the children overwhelmingly decided that the fat kid was less likely to win a race, do well in school, be happy with the way he looks, or get invited to parties, according to the report. Additionally, the children rated the overweight or disabled child more likely to be naughty and have fewer friends.

The "rejection" of the fat character was consistent when the story was portrayed with both male and female characters, the researchers said, indicating that "children pick up on societal cues as to what is socially acceptable and what is not" at a much earlier age than initially assumed.

Join The Conversation
RachelRasmussen RachelRasmussen 4 years
This is backwards. Kids aren't picking prejudices up- they are born with them. Babies are born only trusting their mothers. Then they broaden their tolerance to those humans most familiar. Then they categorize those that can be classified as familiar and rate those most the same as most trustworthy- with a wariness or curiosity for that which is different. It takes years to teach tolerance and love of everyone, and that's with active effort. Four year olds are prejudice against fat people because for the most part, they make up a minority of people they are exposed to. It's not that they are "prejudice already". It's that they don't have mature tolerance and acceptance "yet". You really think these kids are picking up social cues against fat people? Good grief! You might as well assume the kid sucking his thumb or peeing his pants "is learning that behavior at home"
yolandaschrock yolandaschrock 4 years
It's sad that being very overweight is reason to doubt ones character, and yes I'm sure kids pick up on all negativity by learning from grown ups. But on the flip side we mothers and fathers must be pro active and encourage healthy eating ,and exercise habits. Feed kids tons of vegetables and real food, less fast food, also get them off TV and send them outdoors more. We have serious health issues in this country due to weight issues. By no means should we be hateful or unkind, and we should teach our kids the same. But in all reality, this is a problem today, and does make you wonder if the parents of these big kids need a good dose of self control. It is very sad that there are health struggles so early in life that could be completely avoided for the most part.
Police Officer Donates Kidney to Little Boy
Common Core Problem Goes Viral
Mom's Tips For Preventing Dog Attacks
Photos You Shouldn't Post of Kids on Facebook
From Our Partners
Latest Moms
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds