credit: iStockPhoto From Eddie Murphy's fat-suited Nutty Professor films to Louie Anderson's self-loathing-tinged comedy act to CBS's sitcom Mike & Molly, obese people have been the butt of jokes for years.
Now a recent study suggests that online news adds to the social stigma of obesity. The study, published online in the Journal of Health Communication, was widely reported in the media, including by Time magazine:
"Obesity researchers from Yale University say that online news outlets overwhelmingly use negative images of overweight people - in ill-fitting clothes or eating fast food - to illustrate stories about obesity.
The practice perpetuates fat stigma, the researchers say, and may contribute to obesity itself.
For the new study, the researchers looked at 429 news stories about obesity, along with their accompanying photos, published on five major news websites. Of the photos depicting overweight or obese people, the study found, 72 percent portrayed them 'in a negative, stigmatizing manner.'"