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Visual perceptions of male obesity: a cross-cultural study examining male and female lay perceptions of obesity in Caucasian males
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Functional Pharmacology.
2015 (English)In: BMC Public Health, ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 15, 492Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Obesity is now common and this may have altered visual perceptions of what constitutes a 'normal' and therefore healthy weight. The present study examined cross-cultural differences in male and female participants' ability to visually identify the weight status of photographed Caucasian males. Methods: Five hundred and fifty three male and female young adults from the US (high obesity prevalence), UK and Sweden (lower obesity prevalence) participated in an online study. Participants judged the weight status of a series of photographed healthy weight, overweight and obese (class I) Caucasian males and rated the extent to which they believed each male should consider losing weight. Results: There was a strong tendency for both male and female participants to underestimate the weight status of the photographed overweight and obese males. Photographed males were frequently perceived as being of healthier weight than they actually were. Some modest cross-cultural differences were also observed; US participants were worse at recognising obesity than UK participants (p < 0.05) and were also significantly more likely to believe that the photographed obese males did not need to consider losing weight, in comparison to both the UK and Swedish participants (ps < 0.05). No cross-cultural differences were observed for perceptions or attitudes towards the photographed healthy weight or overweight males. Conclusions: The weight status of overweight and obese (class I) Caucasian males is underestimated when judged by males and females using visual information alone. This study provides initial evidence of modest cross-cultural differences in attitudes toward, and the ability to recognise, obesity in Caucasian males.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 15, 492
Keyword [en]
Obesity, Normalization, Weight loss attitudes, Weight misperceptions, Body size perception
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-256235DOI: 10.1186/s12889-015-1821-3ISI: 000354835900001PubMedID: 25981526OAI: diva2:826121
Available from: 2015-06-24 Created: 2015-06-22 Last updated: 2015-06-24Bibliographically approved

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Hogenkamp, Pleunie S.
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