Positive media portrayals of obese individuals reduce weight stigma
(Medical Xpress) -- Presenting obese individuals in a positive, non-stereotypical manner in the media could help reduce weight-biased attitudes held by the public, finds a study from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale. The study, published online in Health Psychology, investigates the impact on public attitudes and preferences of both stigmatizing and positive portrayals of obese individuals in the media.
Researchers conducted two online experiments in which participants viewed either a stigmatizing or non-stigmatizing photograph of an obese individual. Participants were then asked a series of questions concerning the model featured in the image and their general attitudes toward obese persons.
The study revealed that those who viewed stigmatizing images expressed stronger negative attitudes toward obese individuals than participants who viewed positive images. Not only did the stigmatizing images lead to stronger negative attitudes towards obese individuals, but participants said that they preferred viewing the respectful images instead of the stigmatizing images.
The authors believe that media outlets have the ability to shape public perceptions about health and social issues, and based on this study, they recommend substituting more respectful media portrayals rather than stigmatizing images of obese people. Stigmatizing images of overweight and obese individuals portrayed as headless figures, not fully clothed, and engaging in stereotypical eating behaviors are common in the media, according to Rebecca Pearl, lead author of the study and a Yale graduate student in psychology. This study shows that by portraying obese individuals more respectfully, the publics negative attitudes and stereotypes can be significantly reduced.
In order to increase public support for obesity prevention and treatment efforts and reduce societal weight prejudice, the authors suggest that media should make a pledge against perpetuating negative stereotypes and use more respectful portrayals of obese persons.
Recent anti-obesity campaigns have garnered considerable debate and criticism among parents, health professionals, and citizens about how obese individuals are portrayed in the media, says co-author Rebecca Puhl, the Rudd Centers director of research. Obese individuals who feel shamed or stigmatized because of their weight are much more likely to engage in harmful health behaviors. The media should give careful consideration to the kinds of images that are disseminated, so that children and adults who are struggling with obesity can be supported in their efforts to become healthier, rather than shamed and stigmatized.
Provided by Yale University
- Obesity stigma prevalent in online news coverage May 06, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- A doctor's words can enforce weight stigma Sep 26, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- 'Tough love' no good for obesity interventions Jul 14, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Pervasive Weight Discrimination a Serious Health Risk May 20, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- The stigma of obesity Sep 26, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
The gap between life expectancy in patients with a mental illness and the general population has widened since 1985 and efforts to reduce this gap should focus on improving physical health, suggest researchers in a paper ...
Health 8 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Failure to use linked electronic health records may lead to biased estimates of heart attack incidence and outcome, warn researchers in a paper published in BMJ today.
Health 8 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Dietary advice on added sugar is damaging our health, warns a cardiologist in BMJ today. Dr. Aseem Malhotra believes that "not only has this advice been manipulated by the food industry for profit but it is actually a risk ...
Health 8 hours ago | 5 / 5 (4) | 0
(HealthDay)—In 2008 to 2010, the prevalence of key health behaviors among U.S. adults varied, with about one in five adults current smokers and 62.1 percent overweight or obese, according to a report presented ...
Health 10 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
(HealthDay)—The overall health of Americans isn't improving much, with about six in 10 people either overweight or obese and large numbers engaging in unhealthy behaviors like smoking, heavy drinking or ...
Health 10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Native peoples in regions where cameras are uncommon sometimes react with caution when their picture is taken. The fear that something must have been stolen from them to create the photo ...
15 hours ago | 4.2 / 5 (5) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Despite spending billions of dollars on research and development, drug companies have been unable to come up with effective treatments for dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Now, A. ...
13 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (11) | 0 |
Australian scientists have charted the path of insulin action in cells in precise detail like never before. This provides a comprehensive blueprint for understanding what goes wrong in diabetes.
15 hours ago | 4.6 / 5 (7) | 0 |
An experimental sleeping pill from US drug company Merck is effective at helping people fall and stay asleep, according to reviewers at the US Food and Drug Administration, which could soon approve the new drug.
8 hours ago | 3 / 5 (2) | 0
Activating an enzyme known to play a role in the anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction delays the loss of brain cells and preserves cognitive function in mice, according to a study published in the May ...
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
A drug commonly used to treat depression and anxiety may improve a stress-related heart condition in people with stable coronary heart disease, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.
10 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |