"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!
Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences