How to Get Rid of Fat Bias: Effective Strategies in Ending Weight Bias?

Maybe you have been a victim for such a long time simply because you are fat and weighty. Now, it is become imperative to avoid the stigma by learning how to get rid of fat bias. That is, the effective strategies in ending weight bias.

Studies on weight stigma reduction in healthcare students, trainees and professionals were assessed based on specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. Let us identify some five stigma reduction strategies in healthcare:

  • Increased education
  • Causal information and controllability
  • Empathy evoking
  • Weight‐inclusive approach
  • Mixed methodology

Weight stigma needs to be addressed early on and continuously throughout healthcare education and practice, by teaching the genetic and socioenvironmental determinants of weight, and explicitly discussing the sources, impact and implications of stigma.

Stigma can result in a variety of adverse emotional responses such as depression, low self-esteem and anxiety. Obesity itself is typically blamed for these potential consequences. However, it is weight stigma, rather than obesity, which has been proven to mediate the greater likelihood of depressive and anxiety disorders in individuals that have or have formally had obesity.

Focus tends to be placed on the emotional effects of stigma. However, in addition to emotional health, weight stigma can also have social and physical effects. Due to the numerous social contexts in which weight stigma can and does occur, the effects it can have on an individual’s social life can be extensive.

It has been proven to weaken social relationships. In an effort to evade stigma, individuals have reported engaging in selective social isolation, which refers to avoiding social situations in an effort to remain unnoticed through fear of being stigmatized.

How to Get Rid of Fat Bias: Effective Strategies in Ending Weight Bias

Below are some of the ways on how to get rid of fat bias in case you have been contending it for some unbearable time now:

  • Education

To tackle stigma in healthcare settings we are calling for better obesity education for healthcare professionals. Many healthcare professionals say they do not feel equipped to treat patients with obesity, and patients with obesity have self-reported their doctors as being a key source of stigmatizing remarks.

We believe that by providing and advocating for healthcare professional education on obesity we can reduce stigma amongst this group, leading to better treatment for people with obesity, as well as instilling a compassion for people with obesity that will trickle into the rest of our society.

  • Your Attitudes

You may have stigmatizing or discriminatory attitudes you’re not aware of. Take a questionnaire to gain self-awareness. Although there has been research about weight stigma for decades, it’s only recently come to the forefront of discussions.

As professionals we need to not be too critical on ourselves and accept if we recognize we’ve had stigmatizing attitudes in the past, it’s about what we do in the future. Rather than dwelling on this, we need to draw a line under it, move forward and be more mindful about the language and attitudes we use in the future.

  • Communication

Focus on respectful, supportive and empowering language, and avoid combative phrases such as ‘the obesity crisis’, ‘fighting obesity’ or ‘tackling obesity’. Obesity is a complex condition with genetic, biological and environmental factors playing a part. A greater understanding of the condition helps to reduce weight stigma.

Moving forward, clinicians can use motivational interviewing techniques to communicate health risks. Any conversations about weight should begin with the clinician asking the patient for permission to discuss the topic.

Clinicians should be more mindful of their word choice by replacing terms like “diet” or “exercise” with more positive synonyms like “nutritious food choices” and “physical activity”.

  • Killing Discrimination

On a global level, in 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) set out an agenda for zero discrimination in healthcare. This was followed by a document for the WHO European Region that identified how Member States could address weight bias and obesity stigma. In 2018, World Obesity Day focused on eliminating weight stigma and extended its range of resources.

A curated health care environment can signal that a patient’s health needs will be met without shame or discrimination. Ensuring that the waiting and exam rooms are comfortable, appropriately sized equipment is available and reading materials feature average bodies and healthy lifestyles can make patients with overweight or obesity more comfortable. Moreover, all staff should undergo sensitivity training focused on obesity, weight management and weight loss.

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