Table of Contents
International Scholarly Research Notices
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 632940, 10 pages
Research Article

Inherited or Behavior? What Causal Beliefs about Obesity Are Associated with Weight Perceptions and Decisions to Lose Weight in a US Sample?

1Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, Tufts University, 105 College Avenue, Room 104 Medford, MA 02155, USA
2College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1955 East West Road, AgSci 216, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA

Received 23 April 2014; Revised 25 June 2014; Accepted 6 July 2014; Published 23 September 2014

Academic Editor: Cheryl A. Gibson

Copyright © 2014 Sasha A. Fleary and Reynolette Ettienne. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. To identify the extent to which (1) beliefs about obesity and obesity-related behaviors distinguish individuals based on weight perception (WP) and (2) beliefs about obesity predict perceived health status and WP and how these in turn predict decisions to try to lose weight. Method. 7456 noninstitutionalized US adults (, ; 61.2% female; 75.9% White) completed the 2007 Health Information National Trends Survey. Multinomial logistic regressions and structural equation modeling were used to accomplish study objectives. Results. Age, gender, information-seeking, health status, belief that obesity is inherited, and knowledge of fruits and vegetables recommendations distinguished participants based on WP. Beliefs about obesity predicted health status, WP, and trying to lose weight in the general model. The models varied based on gender, race/ethnicity, education, and weight misperception. Conclusion. This study supports the role of beliefs about obesity, WP, and health perceptions in individuals’ decisions and actions regarding weight management. This study increases our understanding of gender, race/ethnicity, education, and weight misperceptions differences in decisions to lose weight. This knowledge may lead to targeted interventions, rather than “one size fits all” interventions, to promote health and prevent obesity.