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Elucidating individuals’ beliefs about the severity of eating disorders and obesity: Implications for public health programs

Bullivant, B, Mitchison, D, Skromanis, S ORCID: 0000-0001-7981-7336 and Mond, J ORCID: 0000-0002-0410-091X 2019 , 'Elucidating individuals’ beliefs about the severity of eating disorders and obesity: Implications for public health programs' , Eating and Weight Disorders, vol. May , doi: 10.1007/s40519-019-00708-6.

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Abstract

Purpose:To examine perceptions of the severity of eating disorders and obesity and the effects on these of an information manipulation while also considering the influence of potential covariates such as age, gender, physical and mental health and beliefs about the prevalence and causes of the respective conditions.Methods:Australian women and men (n = 488) aged 18-73 years were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: no information, neutral information, eating disorders emphasis and obesity emphasis. Mixed-model analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare the perceived severity of eating disorders and obesity (within-subjects factor), while also testing the effect of manipulating information, i.e., selectively emphasising the occurrence and adverse effects of one condition or the other (between-subjects factor), on perceptions of severity. Correlational analysis was used to examine associations between perceptions of severity and potential covariates, those covariates for which significant associations were observed being included as covariates in the ANOVA.Results:Eating disorders were perceived to be a more severe condition than obesity and the information manipulation was largely ineffective. Perceptions of the severity of both eating disorders and obesity were found to be associated with several covariates, including gender, body dissatisfaction, familiarity with and beliefs about the prevalence of eating disorders and beliefs about the causes of both eating disorders and obesity.Conclusions:The findings support the need for - and provide a platform for - greater collaboration between obesity and eating disorder researchers in the development of integrated prevention and health promotion programs.Level of evidence:Level III.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Bullivant, B and Mitchison, D and Skromanis, S and Mond, J
Keywords: eating disorders, obesity, prevention, health promotion
Journal or Publication Title: Eating and Weight Disorders
Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland
ISSN: 1590-1262
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s40519-019-00708-6
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

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