, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 333-340
Date: 24 Aug 2013

Weight Bias and the Training of Health Professionals to Better Manage Obesity: What Do We Know and What Should We Do?

Abstract

Health professionals have a role in supporting patients with weight management. Good training is available but has yet to be widely implemented. The required content of training is clear except perhaps how to address negative attitudes that stem from obesity stigma. There is good evidence that healthcare professionals hold and perpetuate the negative stereotypes and attributions that are core elements within obesity stigma and weight bias; with consequences for relationships with patients and their experiences of care. There may also be consequences for health outcomes but more research is needed. Further studies should triangulate weight bias attitudes with robust observation of healthcare processes and outcomes. This will help determine whether training about weight bias can simply reside in the general preparation of healthcare professionals (as part of anti-discriminatory practice for example) or, whether it requires more active interventions to change practice.