Funding agencies: Dr. Grilo was also supported, in part, by NIH grant 2K24 DK070052.
Obesity bias in training: Attitudes, beliefs, and observations among advanced trainees in professional health disciplines
Article first published online: 4 DEC 2013
Copyright © 2013 The Obesity Society
Volume 22, Issue 4, pages 1008–1015, April 2014
How to Cite
Puhl, R. M., Luedicke, J. and Grilo, C. M. (2014), Obesity bias in training: Attitudes, beliefs, and observations among advanced trainees in professional health disciplines. Obesity, 22: 1008–1015. doi: 10.1002/oby.20637
Disclosure: The authors declared no conflict of interest.
- Issue published online: 26 MAR 2014
- Article first published online: 4 DEC 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 10 OCT 2013 12:50PM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 12 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Received: 6 AUG 2013
This study examined weight bias among students training in health disciplines and its associations with their perceptions about treating patients with obesity, causes of obesity, and observations of weight bias by instructors and peers.
Students (N = 107) enrolled in a post-graduate health discipline (Physician Associate, Clinical Psychology, Psychiatric Residency) completed anonymous questionnaires to assess the above variables.
Students reported that patients with obesity are a common target of negative attitudes and derogatory humor by peers (63%), health-care providers (65%), and instructors (40%). Although 80% of students felt confident to treat obesity, many reported that patients with obesity lack motivation to make changes (33%), lead to feelings of frustration (36%), and are non-compliant with treatment (36%). Students with higher weight bias expressed greater frustration in these areas. The effect of students' weight bias on expectations for treatment compliance of patients with obesity was partially mediated by beliefs that obesity is caused by behavioral factors.
Weight bias is commonly observed by students in health disciplines, who themselves report frustrations and stereotypes about treating patients with obesity. These findings contribute new knowledge about weight bias among students and provide several targets for medical training and education.