Could Political Correctness Make You Fat?

According to, you could gain weight from trying to make everyone happy at your holiday dinner table. "Research from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business suggests you could be choosing unhealthy options to serve your guests because you don't want to offend someone else," it reports.

So, really? 

"We wanted to understand if food choices would change if they were picking a dish or snack for themselves and an average-sized person versus themselves and an overweight person," the Web site quotes marketing doctoral student Peggy Liu.

As describes the research, in one study participants were asked to choose either wheat crackers or chocolate chip cookies for themselves and a person they had just met. "In some cases, the recently introduced woman appeared as her normal size (wearing a size 0-2). In other situations, the woman was wearing a body suit that appeared to increase her weight by nearly 65 pounds (making her closer to a size 16)."

The really interesting part is that while most participants (almost 60 percent) "would choose the same snack for themselves and the woman when she appeared overweight," when the woman appeared her normal size, participants only chose the same snack about 30 percent of the time.

"What the results show is that people pick the same snack to avoid offending someone they perceive as overweight. This means that people might pick unhealthier options for themselves and others during the holidays if they think not doing so could hurt someone's feelings," as Fuqua marketing professor Gavan Fitzsimons said at  He and Liu led the study.

In another study, "participants told researchers they thought it would be offensive either to give an overweight person healthy food and then take unhealthy food for themselves or, conversely, to give an overweight person unhealthy food and then take healthy food for themselves," the Web site notes.
"This suggests that if you are heading back to the buffet to cut a piece of pumpkin pie for your overweight uncle, you might also cut a larger piece than normal for yourself, so you don't hurt his feelings," Liu said.
So my advice?  Sit as far away as possible from the heavier people in your crowd.


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