Internalized weight bias and its association with short-term weight loss outcomes in adults utilizing an online weight loss platform
There are multivariate factors that not only play a role in an individual's ability to lose weight, but may create barriers to his or her success. One such factor is internalized weight bias (IWB), which is inversely associated with weight loss outcomes and body satisfaction, and directly associated with psychosocial maladjustments such as depression and binge eating. This study examined the relationship between internalized weight bias and weight loss outcomes using a coding scheme developed for an online weight loss forum to see whether results would be consistent with self-administered surveys that measure IWB. The coding scheme was developed using an exploratory factor analysis of a survey composed of existing measures of IWB. Participants' posts within an online weight loss forum were coded and participants given a weekly IWB score that was compared to weekly weight loss using mixed model analysis. No significance was found between IWB and weight loss outcomes in this study, however, the coding scheme developed is a novel approach to measuring IWB, and the categories identified from latent constructs of IWB may be used in the future to determine the dimensions that exist within it. Ultimately, a better understanding of IWB could lead to the development of targeted weight loss interventions that address the beliefs and attitudes held by individuals who experience it.