24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Human biologists are increasingly engaging with current global trends toward obesity. However, little is considered about how variation in cultural views of "fat" might shape the biology of obesity, such as through pathways related to socially induced stress. Recent research indicates elevated levels of explicit fat-stigma in middle income nations, suggesting potentially high levels of psychosocial stress around "being fat." We use the case of Paraguay to test if high levels of explicit prejudice around "being fat" also suggest internalization of those ideas in ways that might predict stress effects. Methods: Using a sample of women in Paraguay (N = 200), we test if the statement of anti-fat beliefs on standard scales correlates with similarly strong level of cognitive bias against fat based on an implicit association test. We confirm reasonable comparability of the findings to prior published studies by collecting data for U.S. undergraduates (N = 66) using the same set of tools. Results: Women in Paraguay reveal high levels of explicit anti-fat bias in an interview on a standard (Attitudes to Obese People) scale, suggesting a shared cultural norm of fat-is-bad. However, Paraguayan women display, on average, no anti-fat stigma in cognitive testing. Conclusion: In contrast to what has been observed in industrialized nations, the high levels of explicit fat-stigma does not necessarily correlate with high levels of implicit fat-stigma. This means that pathways between obesity, psychosocial stress, and health outcomes may be very different across socioecological contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-338
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012

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stigma
Paraguay
fat
Fats
lipids
trend
obesity
internalization
prejudice
biology
Obesity
income
testing
interview
health
college students
Developed Countries
developed countries
biologists
interviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Anatomy
  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Explicit versus implicit fat-stigma. / Slade, Alexandra; Wutich, Amber.

In: American Journal of Human Biology, Vol. 24, No. 3, 05.2012, p. 332-338.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Slade, Alexandra ; Wutich, Amber. / Explicit versus implicit fat-stigma. In: American Journal of Human Biology. 2012 ; Vol. 24, No. 3. pp. 332-338.
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