Date Presented

Spring 5-15-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Health Promotion

First Advisor

Dr. Tonya Price

Second Advisor

Dr. Jeremy Craft

Third Advisor

Dr. Christine Terry


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 visit that decreases overall patient satisfaction and health improvement outcomes. Previous studies suggested 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 of 120 participants were randomized into two groups: participants who read arguments for and participants who read arguments against viewing obesity as a disease. Regardless of participants’ intention to enter the healthcare field, participants experienced an increase in weight bias regardless of the intervention group. Some participants experienced a significant increase in weight bias 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.