Big Women Dissed By DoctorsJuly 4, 2011 No Comments
Thought the doctor’s surgery was somewhere you could be yourself and seek help, free from judgment?
A Yale University study reveals health care professionals, including doctors, nurses and dieticians, routinely stereotype their heavy patients.
Not only do they stereotype by assuming unrelated health concerns are due to people’s weight, they also make judgments on a personal level; more than 50 percent of doctors admit to thinking less of their weighty patients, characterizing them as ”awkward,” “unattractive,” “ugly,” and “noncompliant.”
Unsurprisingly, these assessments are made more harshly of women than men. A female patient has to be only 13 pounds overweight to be shamed by doctors, while male patients need to be a whopping 75 pounds overweight to warrant the same attention.
The stigma surrounding weight in the health professions (and of course, society in general) is putting bigger women at risk and often seeing them missing out on important medical treatment. Heavy women are less likely to go for regular pap smears or breast screens than their slim counterparts, and may be wrongly diagnosed more often. Read some examples of this here.
This isn’t to say doctors shouldn’t be aware and educative about the consequences of obesity, but the fact that women are being met with judgment and hostility when seek advice for health concerns is a huge shame.
It seems no industry is exempt from applying unjust double standards to women, even the ones that really should be.
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