The effect of a food addiction explanation model for weight control and obesity on weight stigma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

  • K.S. O’brien
  • R.M. Puhl
  • J.D. Latner
  • D. Lynott
  • J.D. Reid
  • Z. Vakhitova
  • J.A. Hunter
  • D. Scarf
  • R. Jeanes
  • A. Carter

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

There is increasing scientific and public support for the notion that some foods may be addictive, and that poor weight control and obesity may, for some people, stem from having a food addiction. However, it remains unclear how a food addiction model (FAM) explanation for obesity and weight control will affect weight stigma. In two experiments (N = 530 and N = 690), we tested the effect of a food addiction explanation for obesity and weight control on weight stigma. In Experiment 1, participants who received a FAM explanation for weight control and obesity reported lower weight stigma scores (e.g., less dislike of 'fat people', and lower personal willpower blame) than those receiving an explanation emphasizing diet and exercise (F(4,525) = 7.675, p = 0.006; and F(4,525) = 5.393, p = 0.021, respectively). In Experiment 2, there was a significant group difference for the dislike of 'fat people' stigma measure (F(5,684) = 5.157, p = 0.006), but not for personal willpower weight stigma (F(5,684) = 0.217, p = 0.81). Participants receiving the diet and exercise explanation had greater dislike of 'fat people' than those in the FAM explanation and control group (p values < 0.05), with no difference between the FAM and control groups (p >0.05). The FAM explanation for weight control and obesity did not increase weight stigma and resulted in lower stigma than the diet and exercise explanation that attributes obesity to personal control. The results highlight the importance of health messaging about the causes of obesity and the need for communications that do not exacerbate weight stigma.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number294
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalNutrients
Volume12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • food addiction, obesity, obesity prejudice reduction, stigma, weight bias, weight stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas