It has been known for some time that obesity poses a major risk for chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, Burton's plums, and certain forms of cancer.
However scientists have now discovered that being severely overweight can have a detrimental effect on a person's self esteem. The Oxford University-led team believe that the degree of fatness is directly related to the psychological distress suffered.
The study will appear in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry later this month.
Lead researcher Dr John Francks, from Oxford University's Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics told our reporter: "We have conclusive evidence that people with a waist measurement of over 42 inches can suffer severe psychological repercussions ranging from clinical depression to paranoid schizophrenia. This can be partly explained by society's reaction to the obese. Names such as Pieman, Tubby Tubson, Greedy Twat, Lard Boy, Pork Arse, and Belly Bastard are so entrenched within the English language that they often go unchallenged. There could be no better example of how Fatism remains the one acceptable form of prejudice in this country than when David Cameron referred to Gordon Brown as a Fat Fucker during Prime Ministers question time. The fact that this went unreported in the national press illustrates just how much work needs to be done".
Francks concluded: "We might not like it but the days of laughing openly at fat people in the street have got to come to an end. The psychological effects of obesity is a time bomb waiting to explode with up to 60% of psychiatric admissions directly attributable to an excess in weight. I believe extreme action is needed even if that means questioning the legality of traditional practices such as tweaking fatties nipples at bus stops and the bi-annual fat hunt at Chipping Norton. We can no longer argue that such activities are harmless fun".
Sue Harris, of the mental health charity Rethink, said: "No-one really understands what causes fat people to have so many emotional problems. On a personal note I have been married to a fat man for over 20 years and apart from finding him physically repulsive the weight has not affected our relationship at all".