Date of Award
Obesity rates have rapidly increased in America over the past few decades, and with this rise comes an increase in the negative psychosocial consequences experienced by victims of weight bias. Although a fair amount of research on weight bias (i.e., the negative attitudes or beliefs one holds toward overweight individuals) has been done in adults and adolescents, limited research has been done in young children. This study worked to fill gaps in the literature by investigating if children between the ages of five and nine would show weight biases, if the biases against individuals would vary by the ethnicity and gender of the target, and if children's biases related to parents' biases and health habits. To measure bias, children completed an explicit Anti-Fat Attitudes Questionnaire and a more implicit Figure Rating Scale examining biases toward individuals of varying gender and ethnicity. Parents also completed the Anti-Fat Attitudes Questionnaire and a health habits survey. Children displayed significant biases against overweight individuals, with more bias relating to the controllability of obesity. Children did not show different biases toward individuals of different genders and ethnicity, nor did their biases relate to parental views.
Wasson, Emily E., "Parental Influence on Weight Biases in School-Age Children" (2017). Honors Theses. 316.