Attitudes of Health Majors Toward Obese Persons

Stephanie Boss, Amber Sturgeon, Mary Dzindolet


The purpose of this research was to investigate weight bias among health majors at one southwest regional university. The Attitudes Toward Obese Persons (ATOP) scale was completed by a convenience sample of 184 health majors. ATOP scores were found to be significantly lower than the midpoint (60) of the scale, M = 56.68, s = 16.75, t(183) = -2.69, p < .01, indicating more negative attitudes toward obese persons. Women held more negative attitudes than men, F(1,182) = 4.04, p < .05, M-women = 54.06, M-men = 58.99. In addition, correlational analyses revealed that among men, the higher the Body Mass Index (BMI), the more positive attitudes there were towards obese persons, r(96) = .31, p < .01. However, among women, there was no relationship between BMI and ATOP score; the trend was in the opposite direction, r(85) = -.10, p > .05. Implications of these findings included the development of curriculum to increase awareness of weight bias in existing health-related curricula.

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