Fat sham­ing doc­tors may harm obese peo­ple

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Fat sham­ing done by health­care providers can take a toll on over­weight peo­ple's phys­i­cal health and well-be­ing, ac­cord­ing to a study.

The find­ings showed that obese peo­ple of­ten fall vic­tims to med­i­cal dis­crim­i­na­tion by doc­tors in the form of dis­re­spect­ful treat­ment, lec­tures about weight loss, em­bar­rass­ing com­ments, and a less thor­ough ex­am­i­na­tion.

"Dis­re­spect­ful treat­ment and med­i­cal fat sham­ing, in an at­tempt to mo­ti­vate peo­ple to change their be­hav­iour, is stress­ful and can cause pa­tients to de­lay health care seek­ing or avoid in­ter­act­ing with providers," said Joan Chrisler, pro­fes­sor at the Con­necti­cut Col­lege, US.

Fur­ther, over­weight peo­ple of­ten get ex­cluded from med­i­cal re­search based on as­sump­tions about their health sta­tus, mean­ing the stan­dard dosage for drugs may not be ap­pro­pri­ate for larger body sizes.

"Re­search has shown that doc­tors re­peat­edly ad­vise weight loss for fat pa­tients while rec­om­mend­ing CAT scans, blood work or phys­i­cal ther­apy for other, av­er­age weight pa­tient," Joan said.

In some cases, doc­tors also do not take fat pa­tients' com­plaints se­ri­ously or as­sume that their weight is the cause of any symp­toms they ex­pe­ri­ence.

"Thus, they jump to con­clu­sions or fail to run ap­pro­pri­ate tests, which re­sults in mis­di­ag­no­sis," Joan rued while pre­sent­ing the re­sults at the 125th An­nual Con­ven­tion of the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion in Wash­ing­ton DC re­cently.

Weight stigma also leads to psy­cho­log­i­cal stress, which can lead to poor phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal health out­comes for obese peo­ple.

In ad­di­tion, neg­a­tive at­ti­tudes among med­i­cal providers can also cause psy­cho­log­i­cal stress in obese pa­tients.

"Im­plicit at­ti­tudes might be ex­pe­ri­enced by pa­tients as mi­cro-ag­gres­sions - for ex­am­ple, a provider's ap­par­ent re­luc­tance to touch a fat pa­tient, or a head­shake, wince or 'tsk' while not­ing the pa­tient's weight in the chart," Joan said.

"Mi­cro-ag­gres­sions can be stress­ful over time and can con­trib­ute to the felt ex­pe­ri­ence of stig­ma­ti­sa­tion," she noted.

Treat­ments should fo­cus on men­tal and phys­i­cal health as the de­sired out­comes for ther­apy, and not on weight, the re­searchers said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Oman

© PressReader. All rights reserved.