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Looking Fat or Being Bad? Effects of Body Size and Eating Style on Peer Evaluation in Adolescents


Denise T. D. De Ridder, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, P. O. Box 80140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands. E-mail:


The present study examined adolescents' peer evaluations when information about body size (normal vs. overweight) and eating style (healthy vs. unhealthy) was provided. A study was conducted with a sample of 90 adolescents. Adolescents judged their peers on information about body size, but also about their eating style. The effect of body size was qualified by gender: Male adolescents were more positive about normal body weight peers, whereas females did not distinguish between normal weight and overweight peers. The results imply that not only are the consequences of unhealthy eating important; the behavior itself is also important. This holds promise for addressing adolescents' eating behavior.