Cornell Study Links Weight Bias to Food Perception

What makes a recipe appear healthy? According to a recent Cornell study for Health Communication, social media users can be influenced by a thin versus heavy weight bias to roughly the same extent as by nutritional information when making judgments about a meal’s healthiness. “Prejudice and the Plate: Effects of Weight Bias in Nutrition Judgments,” published by Prof. Jonathon Schuldt, Prof. Geri Gay and postdoctoral associate Jamie Guillory, all of the communication department, found that the weight of a social media user who posts food images has an effect on the perceived healthiness of that food. Schuldt, the first author of the study, says health information on social media sites or blogs is becoming increasingly popular, but it is rarely objective from a scientific perspective. “Because these things have a social element, it’s often not just content about the food itself — that content is often associated with a person,” Schuldt said.