Addressing Stigma in Healthcare
Weight stigma, bias and prejudice is known to exist in a number of settings. This can result in people who are obese becoming vulnerable to social injustice, unfair treatment, and impaired quality of life.
While there are a number of factors that contribute to this stigma, we feel that addressing bias within healthcare services and amongst healthcare professionals is an important area of focus to make change and in turn to translate this into impact within wider society. This will require a multi-faceted approach focused around education and resources development in order to highlight the issue, change beliefs and attitudes and to sensitise HCPs on issues relating to weight.
Developing resources and/or education modules is vital to addressing stigma within healthcare, which can in turn filter back to other aspects of society. Education is of particular importance as HCPs may not be aware of the bias and stigma that exists, nor of ways to address the problem either within their own work or within the wider health care environment and delivery services. In addition weight bias may be experienced by the HCPs themselves at a personal level, and using this to help stimulate action to overcome stigma may be of added value.