People living with obesity face stigmatization and weight discrimination daily, resulting in poor life choices, maladaptive coping strategies, social anxiety and psychological distress. Alarmingly, evidence suggests that weight stigma might even be associated with reduced life-expectancy. Healthcare settings are supposed to offer a ‘safe space’ where people can speak openly about their health without fear of being judged, yet weight bias and discrimination are highly prevalent among healthcare professionals (HCPs). These biases, although often unconscious, can promote healthcare avoidance among people with overweight and obesity, resulting in poor health outcomes.
Eliminating healthcare-related weight bias and stigma is essential to ensure that all people feel comfortable and confident accessing health services without delay, and to improve long-term health outcomes for people living with overweight and obesity. Although weight bias is known to be pervasive in healthcare settings, strategies to reduce discrimination have not been adequately defined.
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