Prejudice against fat people can make you to eat more

You are well aware of the fact that unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise and other lifestyle problems is one of the major reasons for weight loss. However, a new study says that if you are biased towards an obese or an overweight person, you too are bound to put on some weight. According to this study, weight bias increases stress hormone (cortisol) levels in the body which may cause you to eat more.The researchers also believe that an over weight person may affect one's sense of smell.

According to lead author Angela Incollingo Rodriguez from the University of California, Los Angeles, while some people are overtly biased, others are subtler about it and may not even be aware that they harbour negative feelings toward overweight or obese people. The findings, published online in the International Journal of Obesity, suggest that the extent of negative bias toward overweight and obese people may be greater than previously believed. Read about how loss of sense of smell in older people could predict death within 5 years.

How was the study conducted?

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The subjects one of two sets of images containing photographs of different people, half who were visibly overweight or obese, and half who were of normal weight or thin - along with a series of 'distractor' objects.

With each image they viewed, participants were asked to smell a container of lotion tinted with a different food colouring. As each image appeared, the experimenter placed the 'scent sample' under the participant's nose.

What are the finding of the study?

The researchers found that when overweight or obese people were on the screen, participants gave worse ratings to the scent samples. Images of average-sized or thin people tended to trigger higher ratings. Read about why women have a better sense of smell than men.

The correlation between visual stimuli and sense of smell is well-established. Previous research has connected the perception of foul odours to feelings of disgust. The findings show that prejudice against overweight people is likely to be more pervasive than previously thought, the team said.

Image source: Getty Images

With inputs from IANS

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