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Study: Patients Are Less Trusting Of Obese Doctors

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File photo of a doctor wearing a stethoscope. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS Connecticut) – Researchers have learned that patients are less likely to trust their doctors if the practitioners appear to be out of shape.

The study, conducted out of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, reportedly noted that their findings are the first to show that patients judge their doctors in the same way doctors judge them.

“[R]espondents report more mistrust of physicians who are overweight or obese, are less inclined to follow their [weight specific] medical advice and are more likely to change providers if their physician appeared overweight or obese,” study authors wrote in the published study, which appeared in the Internal Journal of Obesity.

According to the study, people still have what is referred to as “fat phobia” when it comes to interacting with overweight persons, the Vancouver Sun learned.

“[Y]ou would think that, as the prevalence of obesity has increased, so would tolerance of people who are struggling with excess weight,” said lead author Rebecca Puhl was quoted as saying. “In fact the bias has actually worsened over time.”

According to the Sun, 358 adults participated in the online study – some of normal weight, some overweight and some obese. All of them were asked to complete group-specific surveys that rated their opinions on doctors of different physical statures.

In addition the survey, all participants also completed a fat phobia scale, which was developed to determine the level to which they associate negative attributes such as “unattractive” or “slow” with the overweight and obese.

Noted Puhl, “Obesity continues to be misperceived [sic] as a temporary condition with an easy solution — that someone can simply lose weight.”

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