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Perceived discrimination and favourable regard toward underweight, normal weight and obese eating disorder sufferers: implications for obesity and eating disorder population health campaigns

Citation

Star, A and Hay, P and Quirk, F and Mond, JM, Perceived discrimination and favourable regard toward underweight, normal weight and obese eating disorder sufferers: implications for obesity and eating disorder population health campaigns, BMC obesity, 2 Article 4. ISSN 2052-9538 (2015) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Star et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Licensed under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/legalcode

DOI: doi:10.1186/s40608-014-0032-2

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Obesity stigma has been shown to increase binge eating, whilst positive regard for eating disorders (EDs) may increase dietary restriction which can also lead to binge eating and weight gain. In the context of increasing prevalence of both obesity and EDs exploring community attitudes towards these illnesses may uncover new variables worthy of consideration in population health campaigns. The aim of the study was to explore community perceived stigma and conversely favourable regard toward eating disorder (ED) sufferers of varying weight status, and understand how the attitudes of obese individuals may differ from those of non-obese individuals. Data for this purpose were derived from interviews with individuals participating in a general population health survey. Vignettes of an underweight female with Anorexia Nervosa (AN), a normal weight male with an atypical eating disorder (NWED) and an obese female with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) were presented to three randomly selected sub-samples of n = 983, 1033 and 1030 respectively. Questions followed that assessed participants' attitudes towards and beliefs about the person described in the vignette and their eating behaviours.

RESULTS: Sixty-six per cent of participants who responded to the obese BED vignette believed that there would be discrimination against the person described (primarily because of her weight). Corresponding figures were for the AN and NWED vignettes were 48% and 35%, respectively. A positive regard for weight-loss or body-image-enhancing ED behaviours was reported 'occasionally' or more often by 8.8% of respondents to the AN vignette and by 27.5% of respondents to the NWED vignette. Positive regard for ED behaviours was significantly more likely in obese participants (AN: 15%; NWED: 43%).

CONCLUSION: The findings support integrated ED and obesity prevention programs that address weight stigma and the social desirability of ED behaviours in vulnerable individuals.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Anorexia nervosa; Binge-eating; Body-image; Obesity; Stigma
Research Division:Medical and Health Sciences
Research Group:Public Health and Health Services
Research Field:Mental Health
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health)
Objective Field:Mental Health
UTAS Author:Mond, JM (Dr Jon Mond)
ID Code:111949
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2016-10-17
Last Modified:2017-11-09
Downloads:133 View Download Statistics

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