Food Addiction and Its Potential Links with Weight Stigma
Purpose of Review
Weight stigma and discrimination are significant issues facing people who are overweight. There is growing acceptance that obesity is caused by a neurobiologically driven addiction to some foods. This review examines the evidence that obesity is due to a food addiction and the impact that this may have on attitudes towards excess weight.
There is limited evidence that food addiction explanations may reduce external stigma and self-blame. However, these positives may come at the expense of adverse impacts on overweight person’s self-efficacy and eating. The “addict” label may also further exacerbate weight stigma.
Current research on the impact of food addiction explanations on stigma is scarce and inconsistent. There is almost no research examining the clinical impact of food addiction on self-efficacy, eating, or treatment seeking. More research clarifying these issues is essential given the growing acceptance of “food addiction” explanations in society.
KeywordsFood addiction Obesity Stigma Weight bias Discrimination Self-efficacy
Dr. Puhl reports research funding from Weight Watchers, Inc., outside the submitted work.
Dr. Carter reports grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council during the conduct of the study.
Dr. Hardman reports grants from American Beverage Association, personal fees from International Sweeteners Association, outside the submitted work.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
ᅟThe authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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