Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 95–112

A service learning based intervention to change attitudes toward obese individuals in kinesiology pre-professionals

  • Paul B. Rukavina
  • Weidong Li
  • Michael B. Rowell

DOI: 10.1007/s11218-007-9039-6

Cite this article as:
Rukavina, P.B., Li, W. & Rowell, M.B. Soc Psychol Educ (2008) 11: 95. doi:10.1007/s11218-007-9039-6


The purpose of this study was to conduct an intervention to change attitudes toward obese individuals. Ninety-five Kinesiology undergraduates conducted a FITNESSGRAM service-learning project with school-aged children. They completed anti-fat attitude test (AFAT) and explicit attitude assessments before and after the intervention. The results indicated participants had anti-fat bias toward obese individuals on the lazy/motivated scale, but not on the other four scales on pre measurements. Their anti-fat attitudes concerning whether people are responsible for their weight were significantly reduced through the intervention. Five themes emerged from the undergraduates’ reflective papers that support the efficacy of the intervention: Healthy lifestyle—an individual choice, barriers to physical activity, multi-factorial nature of obesity, and promotion of physical activity through information and encouragement. The findings partially support experiential learning as a potential mechanism to reduce individuals’ anti-fat attitudes.


Service-learning Obesity bias Intervention Physical activity barrier 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul B. Rukavina
    • 1
  • Weidong Li
    • 2
  • Michael B. Rowell
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Health Studies, Physical Education, and Human Performance ScienceAdelphi UniversityGarden CityUSA
  2. 2.School of Physical Activity and Educational Services, College of Education & Human EcologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Petal High SchoolPetalUSA