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Fitness & Health

03rd Jun 2021

Majority of overweight adults have been fat shamed by their doctor, study finds

Kieran Galpin

The past decade has seen the rise of a movement hinged on body positivity, self-love, and pride. But amongst those celebrating their bodies, there is also the concern for individual health. 13,996 people have taken part in a study that addresses and explores weight stigma.

The study considers individuals in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, France, and Germany.

DoctorDarko StojanovicPixabay

Having seen successful studies help to expose bias in the American healthcare system, this new study seeks to draw comparison from other western countries. It has revealed that bias towards larger individuals is prevalent in all of these countries, making this a global issue inside our healthcare systems.

The test was conducted in a survey form and allowed applicants to take it in their native language. Shockingly, the results shed a concerning light on healthcare professionals’ attitudes towards those with a higher body mass index. 56%-61% of participants reported experiencing weight stigma, and two-thirds reported experiencing this from healthcare professionals.

The increase in stigma has lead to individuals avoiding regular checkups or going to a doctor for medical advice. When participants would seek health advice, they found they were treated negatively and experienced a drop in respect and listening- two of the pillars of healthcare.

The study has shed light on an area previously untouched. Numerous studies have been conducted on the effect of increased weight, but never the care and management of healthcare professionals. The investigation allows everyone to see the breadth of the issue. This clearly spans the world and is not limited by conventional borders.

“Our findings underscore the need for increased research studies to assess the effects of WBI on healthcare utilisation, quality, and patient outcomes, which have not yet been examined in literature.”

Interestingly, the study alludes to a connection between WBI and the care administered by doctors, nurses, and dieticians. Could a lack of support and guidance be contributing to the issue?

The study is available to view here.