CitationRobinson, E.; Hunger, J.; & Daly, M. (2015). The weight of knowing you are overweight: Perceived weight status and risk of future weight gain in US and UK adults. 22nd European Congress on Obesity. Prague, Czech Republic.
AbstractIntroduction: Identifying oneself as overweight is presumed to act as a prerequisite to successful weight management efforts. However, the psychological burden attached to the label of ‘overweight’ may actually propagate further weight gain. Our objective was to determine the effect that perceiving oneself as ‘overweight’ has on risk of future weight gain. Methods: Three longitudinal cohort studies were used; National longitudinal study of adolescent health (Add Health), Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) and the National Child Development Study (UK cohort). 3,899 US adults (Add Health), 3,372 US adults (MIDUS) and 6,740 UK adults participated. Primary measures were body mass index (BMI) and perceived weight status. Results: Perceiving oneself as being ‘overweight’ at baseline was significantly associated (both before and after adjusting for potential confounders) with an increased risk of weight gain in the Add Health cohort (B=1.056, SE=.175, p < .0001), the MIDUS sample (B =.376, SE =.134, p=.005) and the UK sample (B=.802, SE=.117, p < .001). The assocation between perceived overweight and weight gain was mediated by stress induced over-eating; perceiving oneself as overweight was associated with a greater likelihood of over-eating in response to stress, which in turn predicted weight gain. Conclusion: Perceiving oneself as being ‘overweight’ is counter-intuitively associated with an increased risk of further weight gain. The stress and stigma associated with perceiving oneself as ‘overweight’ may be more detrimental than beneficial to weight management in our current social climate.
Reference TypeConference proceeding
Book Title22nd European Congress on Obesity