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Nutrición Hospitalaria

versión impresa ISSN 0212-1611


JAUREGUI LOBERA, I.; RIVAS FERNANDEZ, M.; MONTANA GONZALEZ, M.ª T.  y  MORALES MILLAN, M.ª T.. The influence of stereotypes on obesity perception. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2008, vol.23, n.4, pp.319-325. ISSN 0212-1611.

Background and objectives: The prejudice biases the categorization processes, which implies assigning particular characteristics beyond the objective data available. The stereotype occupies the categorical content by adding what is lacking to what we little know. From a mere physical datum ("he/she is fat") we categorize the obese individual on the basis of our own believes, intimately fusing the stereotype and categorization. Setting, population, and interventions: We included 138 students and 47 patients with anorexia or bulimia that assigned qualifying adjectives of the personality of obese people by using a list of epithets. This same list was provided to 49 obese patients in order to be used to define their own personality. Results: We analyzed the most frequently used epithets and the corresponding scales of personality by applying the X2 test to determine the differences between the adjectives and the scales in the samples. We considered a p value < 0.05 as being statistically significant, by using the SPSS v.13 software. Obese people define their personality very differently than the control group and the group of patients does. While obese people more frequently use "positive" adjectives, the other groups tend to use adjectives with more "negative" connotations. It seems that the stereotypes introduce a perception bias regarding the personality characteristics. The fear to overweight-obesity or the fact of "weight gaining" of patients would explain some of the findings of this work. Patients attribute obese people some personality characteristics altogether more negative than those attributed by the people in the control group. Conclusions: Knowing the influence of the stereotypes on obesity perception is essential to approach the patient with no prejudice regarding his/her treatment. The personality characteristics attributed to obese people are far from how these people really perceive themselves.

Palabras clave : Obesity; Overweight.

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