Children shun obese story characters such as 'fat Alfie'

StudyStudy investigated children's ratings of, and choices between, story characters drawn as overweight and normal. (Thinkstock)

The researchers also included a female version of the story, which was shown to a second group of reception and schoolchildren, with just two of 30 children choosing fat Alfina over Holly.

"This negativity was shared by another visibly different characterisation, a child in a wheelchair, but to a far smaller extent. Children rejected the fat character regardless of whether the character was male or female," Hill said.

"Young children have negative perceptions of overweight that are not common to other visibly different conditions, and most apparent as social rejection. These responses are early indications of the views accepted as typical of older children and which may underpin weight-related victimisation of peers," Hill said.

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