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Sharing Weight Discrimination Stories Online

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Health officials have declared war on obesity. But some people who are overweight say they're being shamed about their weight, treated like they're less than human, and they want it to stop. They're talking about their pain through social media and finding strength in sharing.

Kelly Bliss knows how to move. She teaches an exercise class in her home. Also, she calls herself fat. To her, it's not an insult.

"It's a characteristic, not a character flaw," said Bliss, a psychotherapist and fitness coach.

But Bliss says over the years, her body has made her a target. People have yelled at her on the street.

"And I'm walking down the main street in our town, and I'm hearing, 'Hey fatso! Hey tubby! Hey whale!'" she said.

She said even medical professionals have been cruel, once when she injured her knee.

"This doctor stood a few feet away from me, never touched my knee, never touched me at all, and just gave me a diet and said that would fix my knee," said Bliss.

Fat people have been sharing such through YouTube like on Project Lifesize, a YouTube channel.

One woman said, "The fear is that I have is that somebody is going to say, 'Look at that fatty, look at that whale.'"

Another said, "It's hard hearing that people hate you."

Watch the video...

On Twitter, where they've shared what they are told, things like "fat mothers are bad mothers."

Blogger Brian Stuart, who lives in Boston, created a Twitter hash tag called #ThingsFatPeopleAreTold.

He read some of the things people posted: "Your body sends a bad message to your children... Your chronic illness would disappear if you lost weight."

"There was one person who talked about having a police officer sort of tell her that she should have been happy that she was raped," said Stuart. "A lot of people talked about being told that they wouldn't find love. That they wouldn't be able to um find anyone who would, who would care about them."

Brian Stuart says he was overwhelmed by the response to his Twitter feed. He collected more than 450 pages of Tweets.

"The way fat people are treated in our culture and in our society needs to change," he said.

Both Brian Stuart and Kelly Bliss say the war on obesity is having unintended consequences.

Bliss said, "I wish like heck we would have a peace movement, and focus on health at whatever size."


National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA)

Reported by Susan Barnett, CBS 3

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