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University of Stirling


Article in Journal

Does knowing hurt? Perceiving oneself as overweight predicts future physical health and well-being

Daly M, Robinson E & Sutin A (2017) Does knowing hurt? Perceiving oneself as overweight predicts future physical health and well-being, Psychological Science, 28 (7), pp. 872-881.

Self-identification as being ‘overweight’ may be associated with adverse health outcomes, yet prospective evidence examining this possibility is lacking. Over 7-years, we examined associations between perceived overweight and subsequent health in a sample of 3,582 US adults. Perceived overweight predicted longitudinal declines in subjective health (d =.22, p <.001), increases in depressive symptoms (d =.09, p < .05), and raised levels of physiological dysregulation (d =.24, p <.001) as gauged by clinical indicators of cardiovascular, inflammatory and metabolic functioning. These associations remained after controlling for a range of potential confounders and were observed irrespective of whether self-perceptions of overweight were accurate or inaccurate. The present research highlights the possibility that self-identification as overweight may act independently of body mass index to contribute to unhealthy profiles of physiological functioning and impaired health over time. These findings underscore the importance of evaluating whether weight feedback interventions may have unforeseen adverse consequences

obesity; body image; weight stigma; health; well-being

AuthorsDaly Michael, Robinson Eric, Sutin Angelina
Publication date07/2017
Publication date online15/05/2017
Date accepted by journal07/02/2017
ISSN 0956-7976

Psychological Science: Volume 28, Issue 7

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