Perceptions Towards Obese Adults and Children Among Senior-level Female Nutrition and Non-nutrition Students

Starr, Andrea A.A.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

This thesis, guided by a phenomenological approach, utilized mixed-methodology to explore senior-level female undergraduate students’ perceptions towards obesity. Twenty nutrition students (i.e., group of interest) and 20 non-nutrition students (i.e., comparison group) completed questionnaires and a semi-structured interview. Quantitative analysis highlighted similar implicit and explicit weight-bias attitudes among nutrition and non-nutrition students. Qualitative analysis identified similar perceptions towards obesity among both groups. Thematic analysis identified various themes for (a) causes, treatment, and prevention of adult and childhood obesity, (b) material regarding obesity, weight-bias, and fitness in university curriculum, and (c) the influence of education on attitudes towards obesity. The similar attitudes and perceptions towards obesity among both groups of participants suggest that obesity, weight bias, and fitness warrant more coverage in the nutrition curriculum. These findings can be used to address perceptions towards obesity in nutrition curriculum and can help to develop interventions to tackle stereotypes and stigma towards obesity.

Obesity, Perceptions, Weight Bias, Nutrition, Fitness, Curriculum