The effect of ‘supersize’ images on the receipt of health messages about being overweight

Dorota Juszczyk, Fiona Gillison, Steven Dean

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Background: Images depicting morbidly obese models often accompany articles about the health risks of being overweight. We investigated whether a mismatch between the body size depicted, and that of the health message’s target population, affects risk perception.

Methods: 587 participants (291 overweight/ obese and 296 healthy weight participants) were randomly allocated to read a health message presented with: a photo of an overweight model, a photo of a morbidly obese model or no photo. Models were presented on exactly the same background and were gender specific.

Results: Overweight/ obese participants viewing a morbidly obese image perceived health risks to start from a higher body weight than those who saw the health message alongside no image (F(2, 291)= 3.161, p= .044).

Discussion: The findings suggest that exaggerated media images might affect how overweight individuals interpret message about health risks.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
EventEuropean Health Psychology Conference 2013 - Bordeaux, France
Duration: 16 Jul 201320 Jul 2013


ConferenceEuropean Health Psychology Conference 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of ‘supersize’ images on the receipt of health messages about being overweight'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this