The Effect of a Food Addiction Explanation Model for Weight Control and Obesity on Weight Stigma

O'Brien, Kerry S. and Puhl, Rebecca M and Latner, Janet D and Lynott, Dermot and Reid, Jessica D and Vakhitova, Zarina and Hunter, John A and Scarf, Damian and Jeanes, Ruth and Bouguettaya, Ayoub and Carter, Adrian (2020) The Effect of a Food Addiction Explanation Model for Weight Control and Obesity on Weight Stigma. Nutrients, 12 (2). ISSN 2072-6643

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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.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Nutrients
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1106
Subjects:
ID Code:
140831
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
28 Jan 2020 09:55
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
29 Sep 2020 05:24