"Obesity Is a Disease" Examining the Self-Regulatory Impact of This Public-Health Message
ABSTRACT In the current work, we examined the impact of the American Medical Association's recent classification of obesity as a disease on weight-management processes. Across three experimental studies, we highlighted the potential hidden costs associated with labeling obesity as a disease, showing that this message, presented in an actual New York Times article, undermined beneficial weight-loss self-regulatory processes. A disease-based, relative to an information-based, weight-management message weakened the importance placed on health-focused dieting and reduced concerns about weight among obese individuals-the very people whom such public-health messages are targeting. Further, the decreased concern about weight predicted higher-calorie food choices. In addition, the disease message, relative to a message that obesity is not a disease, lowered body-image dissatisfaction, but this too predicted higher-calorie food choices. Thus, although defining obesity as a disease may be beneficial for body image, results from the current work emphasize the negative implications of this message for self-regulation.
SourceAvailable from: Benjamin Y. Cheung[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Public discourse on genetic predispositions for obesity has flourished in recent decades. In three studies, we investigated behaviorally-relevant correlates and consequences of a perceived genetic etiology for obesity. In Study 1, beliefs about etiological explanations for obesity were assessed. Stronger endorsement of genetic etiology was predictive of a belief that obese people have no control over their weight. In Study 2, beliefs about weight and its causes were assessed following a manipulation of the perceived underlying cause. Compared with a genetic attribution, a non-genetic physiological attribution led to increased perception of control over one's weight. In Study 3, participants read a fictional media report presenting either a genetic explanation, a psychosocial explanation, or no explanation (control) for obesity. Results indicated that participants who read the genetic explanation ate significantly more on a follow-up task. Taken together, these studies demonstrate potential effects of genetic attributions for obesity.Appetite 07/2014; 81. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2014.06.109 · 2.52 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Objective:Both bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates are known endocrine-disrupting chemicals for which there is widespread general population exposure. Human exposure occurs through dietary and non-dietary routes. Although animal studies have suggested a potential role of these chemicals in obesity, evidence from human studies is sparse and inconsistent, and prospective evidence is lacking. This study evaluated urinary concentrations of BPA and major phthalate metabolites in relation to prospective weight change.Methods:The study population was from the controls in a prospective case-control study of type 2 diabetes in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and NHSII. A total of 977 participants provided first morning void urine samples in 1996-2002. Urinary concentrations of BPA and eight phthalate metabolites were measured using liquid chromatography - mass spectrometry. Body weights were self-reported at baseline and updated biennially thereafter for 10 years.Results:On average, the women gained 2.09 kg (95% CI, -2.27 to 6.80 kg) during the 10-year follow-up. In multivariate analysis with adjustment of lifestyle and dietary factors, in comparison to women in the lowest quartile of BPA concentration, those in the highest quartile had 0.23 kg/yr (95% CI, 0.07 to 0.38 kg/yr) greater weight gain during the 10-year follow-up (P-trend=0.02). Several phthalate metabolites, including phthalic acid, monobenzyl phthalate, and monobutyl phthalate, were also associated with faster prospective weight gain in a dose-response fashion (P-trend<0.01), whereas other phthalates metabolites, including monoethyl phthalate and monoethylhexyl phthalate, were not monotonically associated with body weight change.Conclusions:These data suggest urinary concentrations of BPA and certain individual phthalate metabolites were associated with modestly greater weight gain in a dose-response fashion. These data are consistent with a potential role of BPA and phthalates in obesity, although more prospective data are needed to corroborate these observations.International Journal of Obesity accepted article peview online, 11 April 2014. doi:10.1038/ijo.2014.63.International journal of obesity (2005) 04/2014; DOI:10.1038/ijo.2014.63 · 5.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: How we view and frame obesity matters.(1) Undeniably, obesity and well-being are situated on a multidimensional continuum. As Bombak highlights,(2) many analyses of the obesity-health binary mask heterogeneity through categorization. Conceding the loss of information associated with classification and the capacity for it to solidify classes as ontological entities, the construction of categories may enable understanding through juxtaposition. Furthermore, processes of simplification may facilitate insights into complex domains, such as health, where constituent constructs, here obesity, are themselves complex systems.(3) While Bombak views such approaches as reductionist and deterministic, Trochim et al. dispel as false the divide between traditional scientific views and holistic systems perspectives.(4) Moreover, they draw attention to the embedded nature of systems and the perceptual shift from reductionist to holistic frameworks, which transpires as the analytic boundaries of a system are redrawn.(4) (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print May 15, 2014: e1. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.301963).American Journal of Public Health 05/2014; 104(7). DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2014.301963 · 4.23 Impact Factor