Nurses Harsh on Overweight Patients
Written by editor   
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 07:53 AM

Nurse practitioners responding to a survey indicated a critical attitude when dealing with overweight and obese patients, researchers reported.  In the medical literature, studies show that obese women report experiencing stigma in healthcare and from their healthcare provider. In fact, other research indicated that about one in five overweight patients who experience weight stigma avoid future medical appointments and would seek to find a new provider.

In this study more than 50% of the clinicians surveyed agreed with statements that:

  • Overweight people are not as good as others.
  • Overweight people are not as successful as others.
  • Overweight people are tidy.
  • Overweight people are not as healthy as others.
  • Most people do not wish to marry an overweight person.
  • Overweight people have family issues.
  • Overweight is the result of overeating.
  • Overweight people are addicted to food.

"The first step in overcoming this bias is to be aware that we are biased towards overweight people.  Negative perceptions interfere with providing high quality care for the obese individual. We know that it is harder to take care of these patients because they weigh more; they are hard on the equipment and they are hard to move."

"Reflection on personnel and workplace environments that foster weight biases can be altered to better meet the health needs of the overweight/obese person," are reported as implications of the study.

"Increasing sensitivity and empathetic support can be a critical aspect in improving the care of these people who struggle to manage their weight," the author said.