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Weight bias (negative attitudes towards individuals with obesity) has been widely observed, but not examined in parents. In this study, we measured parents’ (N = 658; 74.2% female) explicit and implicit weight bias against children with obesity. Many parents (n = 612; 93%) endorsed some moderate explicit weight bias. Fathers had greater explicit bias than mothers and parents with overweight/obesity had less bias than those with healthy-weight. Other parent/child variables (i.e., parent age, child sex, child weight, child age) were not significantly associated with explicit bias. Parents also demonstrated implicit weight bias. No parent or child variables were significantly associated with implicit bias. Parents may contribute, among many others, to the stigmatizing environment experienced by youth with overweight/obesity, which has been associated with negative child psychosocial functioning and health. Clinical research into strategies to reduce parental weight bias against children with obesity or increase children’s resilience to weight discrimination is needed to improve children’s health and well-being.
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- Parents have both implicit and explicit biases against children with obesity
Janet A. Lydecker
Carlos M. Grilo
- Springer US