Weight Bias in Healthcare


Healthcare settings are meant to be a safe space, where people can talk openly about their health. However, if a patient experiences weight bias or feels judged in any way while receiving care, it can affect the quality of care received and health appointments can become discouraging.

If patients experience weight bias while receiving care, it can affect the quality of care received and health appointments can become discouraging.

In one study, physicians indicated that they would spend 28% less time with a patient with obesity than they would a patient of normal weight.
20.3% of U.S. adults have experienced weight bias in healthcare.

Healthcare Professionals often see people with excess weight as being:

  • Non-compliant; dishonest
  • Lacking in self-control; weak-willed
  • Lazy; unmotivated
  • Unintelligent
  • Unsuccessful
Consequences of Weight Bias in Healthcare:

  • Patients are less likely to go regular exams
  • Patients are less likely to get screened for cancer and other illnesses.
  • Patients are more likely to delay an appointment

Ways Healthcare Professionals Can Help:


Exam Room

  • Large-sized gowns
  • Large and extra-large adult and thigh blood pressure cuffs
  • Wide examination tables
  • Sturdy armless chairs

Waiting Room

  • Open armchairs that can support more than 300 pounds
  • Ensure 6-8 inches of space between chairs
  • Doors and hallways accommodating large size wheelchairs, walkers and scooters

Scale

  • Wide-based scale that measures greater than 350 pounds
  • Situated in a physical location that offers privacy and confidentiality
  • Wide platform with handles for support during weighing

Imaging

  • Access to imaging services for people with obesity
  • Imaging table weight limits >350 lbs
  • MRI open design for patients with anxiety
  • CT wider than 80cm opening
  • Tables lower for easy transferring of patients

What can I do to #StopWeightBias ?

1. Ask yourself if you hold negative opinions about people with excess weight. If so, remember obesity is a complex disease with multiple causes including genetic, biological, and other noncontrollable factors.

2. Challenge people who express negative opinions about people with excess weight.

3. Be Part of the Solution. With your help, we can build a better world, free of weight bias. We deserve a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

Join the movement to Stop Weight Bias!
Click Here to Get Started!