Patient Biases about Weight Affect Patient/Provider Relationship

April 19, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


Patients reported higher levels of mistrust and said they would be less likely to follow medical advice from physicians who they perceived as overweight or obese, concludes a study published March 19, 2013, in the International Journal of Obesity. A total of 358 adults were surveyed. In addition to increased skepticism about weight loss and lifestyle advice, patients reported that they would be more likely to change practices if their physician was perceived as overweight or obese. The biases persisted regardless of the patient’s weight. Patients with higher levels of weight bias as measured by the Fat Phobia Scale were more dubious about receiving care from providers who they considered to be an unhealthy weight. According to the authors, the findings suggest that providers perceived to be overweight or obese may be subject to patient biases about their credibility and trustworthiness and that their patients may be less inclined follow their medical advice.

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