The psychological burden of obesity: the potential harmful impact of health promotion and education programmes targeting obese individuals

Graham, D., and Edwards, A. (2013) The psychological burden of obesity: the potential harmful impact of health promotion and education programmes targeting obese individuals. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 51 (3). pp. 124-133.

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Abstract

Despite evidence that individual fitness levels rather than body weight are more closely linked to health outcomes, stereotypes held about overweight and obese people have resulted in pervasive levels of discrimination. It is of little wonder that overweight and obese people have been found to be unhappy. The current investigation explored the psychological burden being experienced by overweight and obese people while also examining their perceived ability to engage in exercise. Depression, anxiety and stress levels were all found to be unacceptably high for the current sample, while exercise self-efficacy or perceived ability to engage in exercise was low. Given these characteristics, messages exhorting obese people to eat less and exercise more may do little except increase the stigmatisation and levels of despair experienced by them. Those designing public health promotion and education campaigns aimed at decreasing obesity need to be cognisant of the harm that a focus on obese and overweight individuals can potentially cause. A public health focus on greater fitness for all, regardless of weight, would serve the entire population while minimising the risk of perpetuating discriminatory stereotypes about overweight and obese individuals.

Item ID: 25532
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1463-5240
Keywords: obesity; depression; exercise; self-efficacy; discrimination
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2013 04:59
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920205 Health Education and Promotion @ 100%
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