Young children can have unconscious prejudice towards their overweight peers, which leads these chubby kids to gain even more weight, a study claims.
Duke University researchers found that children as young as nine years old can have a bias against fatter children, using their weight to determine if they are 'bad' or 'good'.
The new study found there was an overall five percent negative bias towards overweight children.
The study was published in the journal Pediatrics and included 114 children to make these findings.
Experts noted that children who were shown pictures of chubbier kids were more likely to determine them as 'bad'. Researchers said these children may not even realize their bias.
Dr Asheley Skinner, an associate professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, said: 'When children are stigmatized for being overweight, it can cause further weight gain and other health consequences.'
'Fat-shaming' – insulting or bullying children because of their weight is causing obese children to be treated a social outcasts, researchers claimed.