Obesity is now common and this may have altered visual perceptions of what constitutes a 'normal' and therefore healthy weight. The present study examined cross-cultural differences in male and female participants' ability to visually identify the weight status of photographed Caucasian males.
Five hundred and fifty three male and female young adults from the US (high obesity prevalence), UK and Sweden (lower obesity prevalence) participated in an online study. Participants judged the weight status of a series of photographed healthy weight, overweight and obese (class I) Caucasian males and rated the extent to which they believed each male should consider losing weight.
There was a strong tendency for both male and female participants to underestimate the weight status of the photographed overweight and obese males. Photographed males were frequently perceived as being of healthier weight than they actually were. Some modest cross-cultural differences were also observed; US participants were worse at recognising obesity than UK participants (p