Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fat-stigma study: Mass media messages appear to trump opinions of family, close friends

17.08.2011
Women harbor a fat-stigma even though their family and closest friends may not judge them as "fat," according to findings by Arizona State University social scientists. Those research results, published Aug. 17 in the journal Social Science & Medicine, have scientists questioning the weight of messages from sources outside one's social networks, especially those in mass media marketing.

"We found that women generally missed the mark when estimating what their friends and family thought about their weight," said Daniel J. Hruschka, an ASU cultural anthropologist and co-author of the study. "Women were a bit more attuned to the views of close friends and family, but even then, they generally perceived the judgments of others inaccurately."

For this study, the ASU researchers interviewed 112 women aged 18-45 living in Phoenix, Arizona, and 823 others in their family and social networks. The focus was to understand how and why fat-stigma is distributed in the context of everyday interactions and relationships, and test some key ideas about how perceptions of stigma are amplified or mitigated by women's relationships in the framework of their social networks.

Lead author of the study, Alexandra Brewis, a biological anthropologist and director of ASU's Center for Global Health, noted that while obesity is a major medical and public health challenge, the stigma attached to it also creates suffering and needs to be examined. According to the ASU findings, urging family and friends to be less judgmental may be of little assistance in alleviating the stigma.

"Fat is understood culturally to represent profound personal failing and the attendant moral messages attached to it include laziness, lack of self-control, and being undesirable or even repulsive," the authors wrote. "So powerful and salient are these anti-fact messages that some Americans say they would rather die years sooner or be completely blind than be thought of as obese."

"The question this leaves us with is: 'If it isn't the opinions of friends and family that make us feel so bad about being overweight, then what does?' What seems most likely is that media and pop cultural messages are so pervasive and powerful that even the most loving support of those closest to us provides only limited protection against them," said Brewis, who also is a professor and executive director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The findings are published in an article titled "Vulnerability to fat-stigma in women's everyday relationships." In addition to Brewis and Hruschka, the third author is Amber Wutich. Hruschka and Wutich are assistant professors in ASU's School of Human Evolution and Social Change. Some 40 ASU undergraduate global health students assisted with parts of the study.

Social Science and Medicine is published by Elsevier, an international provider of science and health information headquartered in Amsterdam. More information online at http://journals.elsevier.com/02779536/social-science-and-medicine.

Data from the research also was used to show links between obesity and social networks in an article published online May 5 in the American Journal of Public Health. Authors of that study included Hruschka, Brewis, Wutich and Benjamin Morin, an ASU graduate student in applied mathematics for the life and social sciences.

Carol Hughes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>