Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Exhibit Hall NA Poster Sessions (Tampa Convention Center)
This study investigated pre-service educators' attitudes and perceptions of obesity and the extent to which they feel prepared to positively interact with overweight/obese students in a classroom setting. Obesity attitudes were assessed in a sample of pre-service educators (n=60) using an Implicit Association Test (IAT). One-on-one interviews were conducted (n=12) to further explore attitudes and the perceptions that pre-service educators had of their academic preparation for managing overweight/obese students. Results from the IAT indicated that pre-service educators were not immune from weight-based stigma and demonstrated negative obesity attitudes mirroring the general population. Interview data suggested that most pre-service educators felt minimally prepared to interact with overweight/obese students, especially in regards to psychosocial related aspects of body size. The focus of most formal education experiences had been on diet and physical activity. The majority of pre-service educators felt that addressing body shape and size as an element of diversity might be a useful frame for positive classroom interactions that avoided victim blaming.