BOSTON (CBS) – It’s not just kids who get hurt when someone calls them a name. People who are overweight say they face that type of abuse all the time.
Kelly Bliss says it happens to her on a regular basis. “I am walking down the main street in our town and I hear screaming, ‘hey fatso, hey tubby, hey whale.’”
At 5’0’ and 200 pounds, this fitness instructor for overweight people knows she weighs too much, but she doesn’t understand why people seem to think it’s okay to say just about anything to a plus-sized person.
She often hears remarks like, “You must eat lousy and be a couch potato.”
It’s well known Americans are getting heavier. Since the 1960s, the percentage of adults considered obese has tripled.
Brian Stuart of Jamaica Plain created a Twitter hash tag called #ThingsFatPeopleAreTold to give overweight people a place to vent about the things that are said them.
Here is a sample of some recent posts:
*Your body sends a bad message to your children.
*Your chronic illness would disappear if you lost weight.
*No one will ever love you.
Stuart felt too many heavy people were keeping these painful remarks bottled up. He’s been surprised by the volume of comments. “I am really amazed what it turned into,” he said.
“I started it because I wanted to talk about some of the frustrations I have been having as a fat person, and the ways we are treated, and more so, the way people justify treating us poorly,” he explained.
Common themes have emerged in just a few weeks.
“A lot of people talked about being told that they couldn’t find love, that they couldn’t find anyone to care about them. They were told that they couldn’t find jobs,” said Stuart.
WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports
“Another thing that came up a lot were some really abusive experiences with doctors who took the opportunity when a person was sick to shame them, and really make them feel horrible for being a fat person,” he added.
Kelly says that happened to her when she twisted her knee on a set of stairs. “This doctor stood a few feet away from me, never touched my knee, never touched me at all, just gave me a diet and said that would fix my knee,” she said.
Today nothing is slowing Bliss down. She hopes this hash tag will help other people get to the same place.
“Go looking online for size acceptance and find some place where you can fuel yourself with energy to make it better in your life,” said Bliss.
Massachusetts and New Hampshire are both under the national average when it comes to the number of adults who are considered obese.