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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Weight Discrimination: Beliefs and Stereotypes Regarding Race and Health

  • Author(s): Kaur, Pawanpreet
  • Alvarez, Matthew
  • et al.

The perception of weight discrimination can have devastating effects on an individual’s life outcomes. Weight discrimination can negatively impact social interactions, emotional well-being, as well as physical health. The combined effects of discrimination based on race and weight are of special interest, because it is likely that overweight racial minority groups like Black and Hispanic individuals will exhibit worse health outcomes than similarly overweight White individuals. Research indicates that the psychosocial effects of racial discrimination, plus weight discrimination can exacerbate problematic behaviors in minority group members, but not so much in racial majority members. Our survey results reinforced what previous research has already stated, that Black and Hispanic individuals are most likely to suffer from obesity, racial discrimination, and socioeconomic issues. Furthermore, the results also showed that participants viewed White individuals as having fewer obesity and socioeconomic problems. Although discrimination continues to persist, healthcare providers and social institutions must strive to take a stand for all overweight individuals, regardless of race or socioeconomic status.

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