-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Having an addiction can be
stigmatizing, but new research suggests that having a food
addiction may be viewed less negatively by others than an addiction
to tobacco or alcohol.
For people who are obese, however, being a food addict can
increase the stigma already associated with their weight situation,
according to the researchers at Yale University's Rudd Center for
Food Policy and Obesity, in New Haven, Conn.
For the study, the investigators asked more than 1,200 adults
about their feelings toward people with different types of
addictions. They found that food addiction was less likely to
trigger a negative response than other addictions.
Compared to people with an alcohol or tobacco addiction, those
with a food addiction were perceived as more likeable, easier to
relate to and were viewed with less anger and disgust. People with
a food addiction were less likely to be blamed for their problem
than those with an alcohol or tobacco addiction, the study authors
The participants expressed more irritation, anger and disgust
about food addiction if the person was obese, however. This
suggests that the "food addict" label could increase the blame
placed on obese people for being overweight, the researchers
The findings were published online Feb. 4 in the journal
Basic and Applied Social Psychology.
"Our findings offer preliminary insights into how food addiction is perceived among other health conditions and how it affects public attitudes toward obesity," Rebecca Puhl, the Rudd Center's director for research and weight stigma initiatives, said in a Yale news release.
BrainFacts.org has more about
obesity and food addiction.
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