Anti-obesity public health messages and risk factors for disordered eating: a systematic review

Bristow, Claire, Meurer, Capella, Simmonds, Janette and Snell, Tristan 2020, Anti-obesity public health messages and risk factors for disordered eating: a systematic review, Health promotion international, vol. 35, no. 6, pp. 1551-1569, doi: 10.1093/heapro/daaa018.

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Title Anti-obesity public health messages and risk factors for disordered eating: a systematic review
Author(s) Bristow, Claire
Meurer, Capella
Simmonds, Janette
Snell, TristanORCID iD for Snell, Tristan
Journal name Health promotion international
Volume number 35
Issue number 6
Start page 1551
End page 1569
Total pages 19
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2020-12
ISSN 0957-4824
Keyword(s) eating and feeding disorders
eating disorders
public health
Summary Abstract In response to the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity, public health efforts to curb these conditions have been delivered in abundance. There is concern however that the messages used to target these conditions may be increasing risk factors for disordered eating. Therefore, we sought to systematically review the literature on the effects of anti-obesity public health messages on risk factors for disordered eating. Seven electronic databases were searched for articles meeting the inclusion criteria, resulting in the inclusion of 12 studies of various methodologies that measured one or more risk factors for disordered eating following exposure to public health messages. Few studies specifically and accurately measured disordered eating behaviours. Most studies found that messages were stigmatizing towards persons who are overweight/obese, and exacerbate thin ideals and drive for thinness. Interestingly, the same was not found for measures of body dissatisfaction. Messages promoting smaller meals were also thought to be potential triggers for disordered eating. Whilst the studies included in this review offered both quantitative and qualitative insights into how public health messages may have adverse effects on eating behaviours, there was a consistent lack of valid reporting measures and clear classification of outcomes overall. Hence, future research is recommended using valid reporting tools such as validated questionnaires, as well as prolonged exposure to the intervention condition to determine longer-term impact.
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/heapro/daaa018
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 1117 Public Health and Health Services
1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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