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Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science




The percentage of overweight people in the United States has now grown to be higher than ever before (Doll, Peterson, & Stewart-Brown, 2000), causing a host of problems on both the personal and societal level. Increasing awareness of the epidemic has caused a dramatic upsurge in products and policies aimed at combatting obesity. Media coverage most often paints a negative picture of the obese individual and encourages weight loss. Ironically, this may perpetuate and increase weight stigma. This study looks at the effect of different messages about weight on individuals’ eating behaviors. The current experiment sought to test how entity (weight is fixed), incremental (weight is malleable), and HAES (weight is fixed and positive body image) messages affect eating behavior. Results suggest that condition moderates the relationship between BMI and eating. For participants in the incremental condition, increased BMI was correlated with increased caloric consumption, while this relationship was reversed for those in the HAES condition.