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Patients with obesity 'being weight-shamed by doctors and nurses' - The Irish Times

Patients with obesity 'being weight-shamed by doctors and nurses' - The Irish Times

Patients with obesity 'being weight-shamed by doctors and nurses' - The Irish Times
Aug 10, 2022 1 min, 0 secs

The research analysed 25 previous studies about 'weight stigma', undertaken in different countries, involving 3,554 health professionals.

The problem is so widespread around the world that health professionals need to be taught as students that excess weight is almost guaranteed in modern society and not the fault of individuals, so they treat people more sensitively, according to the authors of the study, who have shared their findings with the Guardian.

They found “extensive evidence [of] strong weight bias” among a wide range of health staff, including doctors, nurses, dieticians, psychologists and even obesity specialists.

Medical students, nurses and other health specialists need to be trained in “non-stigmatising weight-related communication”, the authors say in the paper.

Tam Fry, the chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said weight-shaming by health staff was a “shameful” problem, which had very negative consequences for patients.

“It is shameful that the condition continues to be regarded by health professionals as being solely a personal problem, little to do with them and it’s disgraceful that they stigmatise patients for being overweight

He backed the researchers’ conclusion that too many health staff give overweight patients the impression that they believe that their excess pounds are the result of a failure of personal responsibility


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