Are people more likely to find a defendant guilty if he or she is obese? It depends.
In an online study, researchers gave 471 adults a vignette describing a case of check fraud beneath a mug shot of one of four defendants: a lean male, an obese male, a lean female, and an obese female. (The obese male and female were digitally altered versions of the lean male and female.)
When the defendant was female, men were more likely to find her guilty if she was obese than if she was lean. The bias held whether the men doing the judging were lean or obese. However, obesity had no impact on how the men viewed male defendants or on how women viewed male or female defendants.
What to do: Defense lawyers (and others), take note: weight bias may influence how we perceive other people.
Source: Int. J. Obesity 2013. doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.211.
Other relevant links: