Background: Bias against individuals who are overweight is well documented. However, little is known about biased perceptions of men and women at varying specified degrees of overweight. Methods: Men and women (N = 308) rated male and female figures (low normal weight, overweight, obese, extremely obese) on measures of dislike, personality characteristics, and functional limitations. Results: Little or no bias was observed against overweight figures (BMI approximately 25 kg/m 2); however, strong bias was observed against obese and extremely obese figures. Men's ratings of extremely obese females were more negative than those of comparable males. However, for other weight categories, participants evidenced similar or greater weight bias against overweight and obese men than against female targets of corresponding weight. Furthermore, male participants tended to perceive heavier females as having more functional deficits and disliked them somewhat more than female participants. Conclusion: By using targets of known BMI categories, the current study enhances our understanding of who is likely to be impacted by weight bias. As individuals with a BMI < 30 kg/m 2 are typically not the targets of weight-related bias, research and efforts regarding weight-related bias should focus more specifically on those individuals who are obese or extremely obese. Copyright © 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.
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