Doctors Also Biased Against Fat People

But does that result in worse health care?

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 11, 2012 4:43 PM CST

(Newser) – Think a clipboard and smock makes someone any less prejudiced? Turns out doctors are about as biased as the general public against overweight people, according to a new study. There's no proof that obese patients get treated differently, but the study of 360,000 people—including 2,284 doctors—did find high levels of prejudice among doctors, slightly worse among male doctors. Overweight doctors, however, were more understanding about overweight patients, LiveScience reports.

The study shows that doctors need training in the dangers of weight bias, says one researcher. "Weight bias jeopardizes patients' emotional and physical health, and that some patients may even avoid future health care because of weight bias in the health care setting," says Rebecca Puhl, a food and obesity expert at Yale. As if overweight people didn't have enough health problems—like a higher chance of stroke, diabetes, and brains that "age" faster.

A doctor looks at an overweight patient.
A doctor looks at an overweight patient.   (Shutterstock)
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