Department or Program



Weight bias is found in people of all ages, beginning from age three and lasting into late adulthood. Recent research has demonstrated that mothers’ negative attitudes towards overweight and obese persons influence their children’s attitudes towards overweight persons (Holub, Tan, & Patel, 2011). This study sought to expand on these findings by examining whether both mothers’ and fathers’ attitudes towards overweight persons are associated with bias in their high school and college-aged children. This study also explored “fat talk” as a mechanism through weight bias is transmitted from parents to children. One hundred and twenty-seven high school, 94 undergraduate students, and 82 undergraduate students’ mothers and fathers completed measures on weight bias and fat talk. Women participated in fat talk with parents more than men. Fat talk with mothers appeared to be important in the transmission or perpetuation of weight bias to their high school-aged children. Fat talk was less important for undergraduates, but parental weight bias, particularly toward teenagers, was associated with their children’s negative attitudes toward obesity. This study has potential implications for both understanding the origins of weight bias and for the development of weight bias reduction interventions.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Open Access After Expiration]

First Advisor

Low, K.G.

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages