A New Study Shows Many Assume Something About Overweight People That Is Not Always True

Updated August 7, 2017

You don’t have to tell anyone who is overweight that the world sometimes feels judgmental. Overweight and obese people have to deal with bullying and other forms of harassment as a regular part of their day. People might not be as kind or forthcoming or they might simply assume the worst about overweight people. But now a study found that people assume one thing about overweight people. And what is that? They assume that if someone is overweight, they are American.

A new research study conducted in various countries from around the world showed that foreigners often assume that an overweight person is from the United States. This fact was particularly true for people of Asian heritage. Based on sight alone a person was much more likely to assume an overweight Asian person was American rather than from an Asian country. The same study also found that people assume overweight Asian people live in the United States legally compared to other Asian people with a healthy BMI or body mass index.

The researchers demonstrated that being overweight causes people to assume people are a naturalized US citizen.

They also added that the findings in this study proved that whiteness no longer defines the stereotypical American.

The University of Washington researchers analyzed results from 10 independent studies that showed 1,000 college students pictures of people from different races. They were asked to guess their country of residence.

To affect the results of the study, some pictures were digitally altered to make a person seem of healthy weight or overweight.

According to health standards, a person is overweight when their BMI is more than 25. A normal or healthy weight is when someone has a BMI less than 25 but not too low because that can be unhealthy too.

The college students surveyed thought that overweight Asians were more likely to be American. The study found that being overweight makes people around the world assume that someone is a naturalized United States citizen.

Although this was true for Asian people, it did not seem to effect results for white, black or Latino people. The study results were published in Psychological Science, a journal.

Caitlin Handron, the study author, wrote, “In the U.S., there is a strong bias associating American identity with whiteness, and this can have negative consequences for people of color in the U.S.”

Meanwhile, Sepna Cheryan, a study co-author added, “We found that there was a paradoxical social benefit for Asian Americans, where extra weight allows them to be seen as more American.”

What do you think about the study results? Here are some thoughts from global readers from Mail Online:

“US isnt even the fattest country. UK is right up there too. Every time i see some UK program or photo there’s always some porky person in it.”

“Our bodies did not evolve to eat the garbage that we all eat and it didn’t evolve with this sedentary lifestyle 99% we lead. Pretty much everyone’s overweight.”

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