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Patients report that weight stigma has led to difficulties getting treatment, and avoidance of seeking future healthcare

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Conscious and unconscious negative attitudes from health care professionals have impacted the treatment and care of people living with obesity. Patients have reported that physicians blame their weight first and treat their presenting symptoms second — if at all.

Obesity was once thought of as only a result of poor diet and lack of exercise, but now general consensus has changed. The condition of obesity was recognized as a disease in 2013.

Obese individuals are often faced with stigma or shame, which can lead to avoidance of future care and less trust in doctor-patient relationships.

Nearly 42% of American adults are considered obese, and a recent rise in childhood obesity rates patient advocates call for an end to weight discrimination in health care.

How are medical professionals addressing their biases? What is needed to end weight discrimination in health care? What are medical schools teaching students about treating patients who are obese?

In what ways should childhood obesity be addressed? How can patients advocate for themselves if they feel a diagnosis is incorrectly blamed on their weight? Is weight stigma in health care a systemic problem?

Guest:

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, August 9.

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