Why Looking at Overweight People Makes Us Want to Eat More, Not Less



April 20, 2011

Viewers of The Biggest Loser would probably agree that watching the weight-loss show fills them with inspiration. Seeing the obese contestants struggle should motivate us to eat better, exercise and lose weight too. Turns out, however, that premise is only half right — at least according to a new study that finds that people may actually eat more after seeing overweight people.

"Seeing someone overweight leads to a temporary decrease in a person's own felt commitment to his or her health goal," wrote study authors Margaret C. Campbell and Gina S. Mohr of the University of Colorado at Boulder (which is incidentally the most active city in the U.S.).

Campbell and Mohr put together a series of five experiments to determine the impact of the mere sight of an overweight person.