Exploring if Fat Acceptance Movement Perceptions Impact on Health Beliefs Regarding Obesity and Health

  • Chelsea Stanford
Keywords: Fat acceptance movement (FAM), Body positivity, Questionnaire, Fatosphere, Obesity


Obesity affects every country in the world, in some way or another (World Obesity Federation, 2015, (Galka, 2016). As it is one of the main risk factors for mortality worldwide (WHO, 2021), it is imperative that any relevant aspect that may pertain to public health protection is studied to assess the impact. The title of this study is: “Do Fat Acceptance Movement (FAM) Perceptions Impact Health Beliefs Regarding Obesity and Health?”. The objectives of this study are to access participants’ attitudes towards the FAM using an online questionnaire; to access participants’ perceptions of the FAM in the same online questionnaire; to assess participants’ health beliefs associated with obesity using the online questionnaire and lastly, this study principally hopes to understand if positive FAM perceptions impact upon participants’ health beliefs regarding obesity and health.  An online survey was created utilising ‘JISC: Online Surveys’ and then piloted. Advertising material for this online survey was sent to media sites related to the topic and to researchers’ contacts and peers. This online survey was launched and received a response rate of 151. Once data was quantified and analysed, it became clear that FAM perceptions had an impact on the way participants answered health- related questions. Those who displayed positive FAM perceptions were more likely, for example, to class overweight further along the weight scale than those who displayed negative FAM perceptions. This study concludes that FAM is positive for tackling weight- related mental health issues, which is important as a public health concern. It concludes that obesity carries many risks to physical health. Due to misinformation present online in fat activist blogs, sites and groups regarding obesity and health, it may be more likely for those who follow the FAM will carry inaccurate health beliefs. This may be prejudicial to health, therefore the FAM should be further understood to protect public health, as the online world is now an integral part of our environment.