Australian PE teachers biased against fat kids

August 5, 2015 5:24 am 

SYDNEY, Aug. 4 — Australian physical education (PE) teachers are four times more likely to have an anti-fat bias than non-PE teachers, an Australian study has found.

Researchers from the University of Newcastle, in a paper published in the Journal of School Health, tested 240 PE and non-PE teacher trainees for both explicit, that is, negative views they were willing to admit, and implicit bias, using conceptual thinking associated with excess weight.

They also — both PE teachers and non-PE teachers — had anti-fat bias, but PE teachers are three times more likely to believe overweight or obese children are not as cleaver as their peers.

About 30 percent of the participants in the study said being obese was "one of the worst things that could happen to a child."

"What we found was (the trainees) almost expect obese children not to be good, even in things they don't have anything to do with physical activity," the study's author Dr. Marita Lynagh told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

"They actually expect the children to not be as good socially, or with things like reasoning skills, things that have nothing to do with weight," he said.

The research supplements other studies that have revealed strongly held biases against overweight people in workplaces and the medical profession.

With one quarter of Australian school-age children overweight, Lynagh hopes knowing where bias exists will prevent teachers from acting on them. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/SSC

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