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Bias Against Obese Fat Patients
Attitudes of Health Professionals Towards Morbidly Obese
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Anti-Fat Bias & Obese Patients

Anti-Fat Bias in Health Professionals
Health professionals who specialize in treating and studying obesity are not immune to anti-fat bias. Like many Americans, they tend to view excess body weight a character failing - even if only unconsciously according to a recent obesity report appearing in Obesity Research. The survey of nearly 400 health professionals found how difficult it is to fight the automatic belief that fat people are lazy and stupid.

Anti-Fat Bias & Overweight Support
The bias could affect health professionals' ability to empathize and support overweight and obese patients, although the study couldn't determine if patient care was compromised.

Anti-Fat Bias - Greater in Women
The findings were based on responses of 389 clinicians and researchers - 198 women and 191 men - to an Implicit Association Test administered at the opening session of the 2001 annual meeting of the North American Assn. for the Study of Obesity in Quebec City. Bias was greater among younger professionals and among women, which Schwartz attributed to the greater pressure on women to be thin and not overweight. Bias was mitigated by the subjects either having obese friends or being obese themselves. And those survey subjects who worked most closely with obese people were less biased than those removed from patient contact.

Source: LA Times.

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