Are Some Children Weight Blind? The Stigma Of Obesity And Its Influence On 3rd-6th Grade Children




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The aim of this research was to examine when the buffering effects (if any) of ethnicity, sex, age difference, and personality affect the stigmatization of overweight children, and to determine if some children can indeed be weight-blind. A total of 315 3rd- 6th grade children (boys = 157) completed an online computer survey measuring their perceptions of thin, medium and heavy children of different ethnicities and sex. Children also provided measures of their personality and attitudes toward weight. Finally, height and weight were collected for each child. Results revealed an overwhelming weight bias, which was only weakened by higher levels of agreeableness and conscientiousness. These personality dimensions only played a small part. In addition, young children were less biased than older children, but were not completely neutral in their perceptions of overweight peers. In other words, some children were weight near-sighted (i.e., exhibited less bias), but there was no evidence of weight-blindness (i.e., total lack of weight bias). In addition, there was no evidence that ethnic differences played a part in rendering children weight-blind.