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March 31 2011 12:00 AM

Stigmatization of fatness is globalizing rapidly, with Western negative attitudes toward overweight people spreading even to countries where large bodies have traditionally been valued, according to a cross-cultural study of attitudes to obesity to be published in the April issue of Current Anthropology.

For the study, researchers from Arizona State University surveyed 680 adults living in urban areas in 10 countries and territories around the world, including Argentina, Iceland, Mexico, Paraguay, New Zealand, the UK and the US. They also surveyed respondents in American Samoa, Puerto Rico and Tanzania, cultures that have traditionally been regarded as having positive attitudes towards fatness.

The survey was done mostly via in-person interviews, supplemented with questions posed over the Internet.

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