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dc.contributor.advisorHorwath, Caroline
dc.contributor.authorWiddowson, Sara Valerie
dc.identifier.citationWiddowson, S. V. (2015). Women’s experience of internalised weight stigma: results from a nationwide survey (Thesis, Master of Dietetics). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractBackground: Almost one in three New Zealand women are obese, increasing from 26.5% in 2006/2007 to 31.3% in 2012/2013. Previous research has shown high levels of stigma associated with overweight and obesity, particularly among women with a body mass index (BMI) above 30kg/m2, of white ethnicity, high socioeconomic status (SES), and in both younger as well as postmenopausal age groups. Weight related stigma is defined as either enacted or self-stigma (internalised stigma) depending on the source of the negative devaluation (society or the individual). Weight stigma has been documented in a variety of settings including employment, education, health care and interpersonal relationships. Weight self-stigma may adversely affect the health of overweight and obese individuals by contributing to unhealthy lifestyle behaviours such as physical inactivity and binge eating, which may also hinder maintenance of a healthy bodyweight. Aim: To investigate the experience of internalised weight stigma in a nationwide sample of mid-life women, and to explore whether particular demographic characteristics increase vulnerability to experiencing weight self-stigma. The present study also aims to investigate whether the experience of weight stigma is associated with adverse health-related behaviours. Methods: In 2009, 2500 New Zealand women aged between 40-50 years were randomly selected from nationwide electoral rolls to participate in a longitudinal study examining psychological, behavioural and lifestyle factors and BMI. Weight self-stigma was assessed in the 2011 two year follow-up survey using a validated subscale from the ‘Weight Self-Stigma Questionnaire’. The association between weight self-stigma and health-related behaviours including hazardous drinking, tobacco smoking, physical activity and binge eating behaviours were assessed both at the time of stigma assessment (2011) and during the three-year follow-up (2012). Women’s Body Mass Index category at the time of reported weight self-stigma was examined as a potential moderator of the relationship between self-stigma and health behaviours. Results: A response rate of 66% (n=1601) was achieved for the 2009 survey, with 69.4% of these respondents also completing the 2011 survey. After the inclusion criteria were met, the final analysable 2011 and 2012 samples consisted of n=1111 and n=1025 women respectively. Mean weight stigma score was 13.0 out of a possible 30, with significant differences in weight stigma scores between BMI categories (p=<0.001), ethnic groups (p=0.002) and according to living situation (p=0.006). Higher weight-self stigma scores were significantly associated with more frequent binge eating (p=<0.001), and among those women whose BMI fell in the obese range, with lower physically activity levels (p=<0.001) in 2011 but not in 2012. Conclusions: Midlife New Zealand women appear to experience internalised weight-stigma and to a similar extent to their US counterparts. Women with a BMI >30kg/m2, of New Zealand European ethnicity and who live without a partner are most at risk. When measured at the same time point (2011), the experience of weight related self-stigma was associated with binge eating and physical inactivity.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectWeight Stimga
dc.subjectMid Life
dc.subjectNew Zealand
dc.titleWomen's experience of internalised weight stigma: results from a nationwide survey
dc.language.rfc3066en Nutrition of Dietetics of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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