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October 2021

Contradictions and confounds in coverage of obesity: Psychology journals, textbooks, and the media

Journal/Book: J Soc Issues. 1999; 55: 350 Main Street, Ste 6, Malden, MA 02148, USA. Blackwell Publishers. 355-369.

Abstract: Although obesity is not listed as a psychiatric condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, psychologists focus on obesity in their research, clinical practice, and teaching. This article reviews the methods and outcomes of the weight loss research in psychology journal articles, and discusses some of the confounds. These studies focus on comparisons among treatment conditions rather than on the low amounts of weight lost, and do not use clinical criteria for evaluating outcome. Although improvement in physical health is viewed as the reason for weight loss programs, few studies assess physical health. There has been little concern about how weight loss participants feel when they regain weight. Furthermore, the journal peer review process does not encourage paradigm shifts. The article also discusses how the results of the weight loss research studies are covered in undergraduate psychology textbooks and how they are (mis)interpreted by the media. Recommendations for a paradigm shift in the peer review process, coverage in textbooks and the media, are offered.

Note: Article Rothblum ED, Univ Vermont, Dept Psychol, John Dewey Hall, Burlington,VT 05405 USA

Keyword(s): WEIGHT; PROGRAM; STIGMA


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