Publication type: Journal Article 8
Obesity stigma in Germany and the United States - Results of population surveys
Authors: Kim, Tae Jun; Makowski, Anna Christin; von dem Knesebeck, Olaf Publication year: 2019
Over the past decades, obesity stigma has become a substantial public health issue as studies have highlighted its negative consequences for mental and physical health. However, comparative studies are scarce. In this cross-national study, we focus on the following research questions: (1) Are there differences in the magnitude of public obesity stigma between Germany and the United States (US), and (2) are there differences in the associations of sociodemographic as well as experience (i.e. former obesity experience) and contact-related (i.e. contact to a person with obesity) factors with public obesity stigma between these two countries?
Material and methods
National telephone surveys in Germany and the United States were conducted (total sample = 2,802) by using vignettes for the description of a person with obesity. Fat Phobia Scale, negative reactions, and desire for social distance were assessed as components of public obesity stigma. All three stigma components were examined with multilevel linear regression analyses.
Overall, results show that public obesity stigma is significantly more pronounced in the US than in Germany. Relationships between obesity stigma and sociodemographic as well as experience and contact-related factors remain rather inconclusive, though, in general, stronger associations are shown in the US.
Contrary to the normalization hypothesis, findings indicate that a comparatively high prevalence of obesity like in the US is associated with a higher level of obesity stigma.doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0221214 Open Access