Two professors at Oregon State University (OSU) recently published an academic article warning that personal trainers and gym instructors are guilty of perpetuating “fat oppression” and “anti-fat bias” while on the job.

Published in the journal Fat Studies, the article was written by Vicki Ebbeck, a professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU, alongside Shannon Austin, a graduate teaching assistant at the school.

In their article, Ebbeck and Austin argue that fitness instructors are guilty of fat oppression because they often work with gym-goers to help them become more active. Exercise, they warn, is “often promoted as a way to manage, control, or manipulate body weight.”

There are numerous ways that gym instructors reinforce fat oppression, according to Ebbeck and Austin. For example, some fitness coaches may encourage clients to “burn that fat” during a workout, or believe that normal weight is “important to one’s health.”
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