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The hypocritical oath...do doctors have a secret bias against fat people?


Doctor seeing an overweight boy

Doctor seeing an overweight boy

Doctor seeing an overweight boy

People who are overweight or obese are used to being treated differently.

It takes place on the bus, in shops, in work, in daily life.

A 2009 study found that weight discrimination in the US increased by 66pc over the previous decade and is comparable to rates of racial discrimination, especially among women.

Negative stereotypes that overweight people are lazy, unmotivated, sloppy and lack self-discipline, persist.

This week, an article published in the British Medical Journal on the way doctors treat overweight people has been generated major debate.

Contributor Emma Lewis wrote of her experience as a fat person in healthcare settings.

"Almost every consultation I've ever had - about glandular fever, contraception, a sprained ankle - has included a conversation about my weight."


She goes on: "That destroys any...trust that might have existed between me and my doctor."

Other studies have shown that medical students show a strong subconscious bias against fat people.

Researchers for the journal Academic Medicine found that fat patients are less likely to be treated with respect and more likely to be the butt of jokes.

Fifty-four percent of doctors said they were fine with denying fat people treatment, meaning they don't even have the excuse of their bias being a subconscious one.

Perhaps instead of fat shaming patients, doctors need to have a look at the Fat Acceptance Movement.

This is a social movement seeking to change anti-fat bias in social attitudes.

Instead of moral judgments fat people might get a little civility in the doctor's office.