Background: Efforts toward increasing participation in physical activity to prevent and treat overweight and obesity have as yet proved unsuccessful. Among the many barriers that discourage participation are weight-related stigmas. The primary purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between consciousnesses of weight-related stigma and perceived competence in physical activity. A secondary purpose of the study was to explore the potential mediation effects of body esteem and body mass index (BMI) on the relationship. Consciousness of weight stigma, body esteem, and BMI are explored as predictors of perceived competence in physical activity.
Methods: Participants included 76 adults who were enrolled in a weight management program. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaires. Path modeling was used to assess the relationships between stigma consciousness and perceived physical activity competence, and the potential mediation effects of BMI and body esteem.
Results: Tests indicated that body esteem, but not BMI, mediated the relationship of consciousness of weight-related stigma and perceived physical activity competence.
Conclusions: Consciousness of weight stigma, regardless of objective weight status, may negatively affect individuals' willingness to participate in physical activity. Findings such as these are important in furthering understanding the factors that affect behavior, and subsequently conducting programs to overcome perceptions of weight and physical activity to encourage participation.
Copyright 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.