Yale researcher applauds Wisconsin anchorwoman’s statement on obesity

Perhaps you’ve seen La Crosse, Wisc. anchorwoman Jennifer Livingston’s moving response to a viewer’s email about her weight. If not, you should really watch it below.

Not surprisingly, Livingston’s statement has sparked a conversation about bullying, specifically weight-based bullying. Rebecca Puhl, director of research for Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, applauded Livingston’s brave, candid statement. “I think her response was certainly courageous,” Puhl said. “I was really impressed that she turned this into an opportunity to create awareness about weight-based bullying.”

Thought the Rudd center advocates against obesity, it also crusades against stigmatizing and shaming those who are overweight or obese. Puhl said weight-based bullying is a particularly big problem among youth, both nationally and in Connecticut.

Last year, Yale questioned 1,500 adolescents about what was the most common form of bullying, and many of them responded that it was bullying based on weight. Puhl said, though bullying in general has been a major discussion on the national stage “weight-based bullying has not been on the agenda.”

She’s hoping that the discussion sparked by Livingston’s statement might change that. “We’re at a place in society where people think it’s very socially acceptable to make derogatory remarks about body weight,” Puhl said. “I would love to see this video (of Livingston’s statement) re-played in classrooms across the country to raise awareness.”

Amanda Cuda