Date Presented

Spring 5-1-2023

Document Type



Biomedical Science

First Advisor

Dr. Tonya Price, DHEd, MS, RDN, CHES, CWP

Second Advisor

Dr. Christine Terry, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dr. Price Blair, Ph.D.


The condition of obesity has been recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as a multi-faceted chronic disease. Previous studies have shown an associational relationship between recorded weight bias in healthcare providers, in society at large, andtowards oneself and negative health outcomes. In addition, the increased rate of recorded obesity is often tied to the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease in the population. Therefore, it is imperative to discuss the causes of this relationship and an updated course of treatment. The purpose of this study is to evaluate how the attitudes and beliefs of healthcare providers towards people who are considered overweight and obese affects the management and treatment of cardiovascular disease in this same population. In addition, this study will explore the intersectionality of health disparities along both weight and racial lines. A survey was created and sent to Lynchburg area healthcare providers and health science graduate students to analyze their attitudes and beliefs towards obese persons. Variables studied include the following: level of weight bias (explicit); the racial composition of the provider’s patient case load; if the physician treats patients with cardiovascular disease; the provider's medical specialty; the number of years spent practicing; healthcare provider’s age and gender; and recency of weight bias training. The results of this survey were analyzed and discussed. No statistically significant differences were found between ATOP and BAOP scores for most independent variables. However, the BAOP score for respondents who see a patient population ≥ 50% Black was found to be statistically significant. This variable requires additional focused study before conclusions can be made.