Student Author Information

Sloane Kelly, University of LynchburgFollow

Location

Schewel 215

Access Type

Campus Access Only

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

April 2022

Department

Public Health

Abstract

Weight bias is defined as negative weight-related attitudes toward an overweight or obese individual. Healthcare workers have the potential to exacerbate the prevalence of weight bias in American society. Harboring weight bias negatively influences providers’ thoughts and decision-making abilities, which can negatively impact their patient care. Consequently, patients experience a lower quality healthcare visit that decreases overall patient satisfaction and outcomes. Previous studies suggest viewing obesity as a disease lowers weight bias within providers. This study used a pre-test/post-test quasi-experimental design that examines the effect of perceiving obesity as a chronic disease on weight bias in undergraduate and graduate students who intend to enter the healthcare field. A self-selected sample 120 participants were randomized into two groups: participants who read arguments for and participants who read arguments against viewing obesity as a disease. Despite their intention to enter the healthcare field, participants experienced an increase in weight bias regardless of the intervention group. In some participants, existing weight bias significantly increased after reading statements against viewing obesity as a chronic disease. Implications of these findings are discussed with emphasis on developing an intervention that reaches individual thinking on a more impactful level.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Tonya Price

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Apr 6th, 4:00 PM

Attitudes Toward Obesity in Undergraduate and Graduate Students Intending to Enter the Healthcare Field

Schewel 215

Weight bias is defined as negative weight-related attitudes toward an overweight or obese individual. Healthcare workers have the potential to exacerbate the prevalence of weight bias in American society. Harboring weight bias negatively influences providers’ thoughts and decision-making abilities, which can negatively impact their patient care. Consequently, patients experience a lower quality healthcare visit that decreases overall patient satisfaction and outcomes. Previous studies suggest viewing obesity as a disease lowers weight bias within providers. This study used a pre-test/post-test quasi-experimental design that examines the effect of perceiving obesity as a chronic disease on weight bias in undergraduate and graduate students who intend to enter the healthcare field. A self-selected sample 120 participants were randomized into two groups: participants who read arguments for and participants who read arguments against viewing obesity as a disease. Despite their intention to enter the healthcare field, participants experienced an increase in weight bias regardless of the intervention group. In some participants, existing weight bias significantly increased after reading statements against viewing obesity as a chronic disease. Implications of these findings are discussed with emphasis on developing an intervention that reaches individual thinking on a more impactful level.