Malleability of weight-biased attitudes and beliefs: a meta-analysis of weight bias reduction interventions

Body Image. 2014 Jun;11(3):251-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2014.03.003. Epub 2014 Apr 16.


Weight bias exists across many important life domains, necessitating interventions designed to reduce weight-biased attitudes and beliefs. Though the effectiveness of weight bias interventions has been questioned, to our knowledge no meta-analysis of these interventions has been conducted. This meta-analysis evaluated the impact of weight bias interventions on weight-biased attitudes and beliefs and explored potential moderators. Interventions were eligible if they used an adult sample and a validated measure of weight-biased attitudes, which resulted in the inclusion of 30 studies represented in 29 articles. A random effects approach using inverse weights resulted in a mean effect size estimate of g=-0.33 (lower scores indicate less weight bias) for both attitudes and beliefs. Intervention type, publication type, and population type were not significant moderators but demonstrated noteworthy trends. Results reveal a small, positive effect of weight bias interventions on weight-biased attitudes and beliefs and provide useful information for future interventions.

Keywords: Anti-fat attitudes; Anti-fat beliefs; Interventions; Meta-analysis; Weight bias.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Empathy
  • Humans
  • Overweight / psychology*
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Social Discrimination / psychology*
  • Thinness / psychology*