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Study: Doctors As Likely To Hold Anti-Fat Bias As General Public

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File photo of a doctor treating an obese patient. (credit: LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a doctor treating an obese patient. (credit: LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images)

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SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) – Even doctors can’t suppress their bias against people who are overweight.

Doctors are just as likely to hold an anti-fat bias as the general public, according to a recently-published study. The research, which was accumulated by researchers from the University of Washington and University of Virginia, broke down the survey answers of more than 2,000 doctors. The results, which measured both implicit and explicit bias, found that the doctors surveyed exhibited a strong preference for thin people rather than fat people.

According to ScienceDaily, male doctors who are underweight or of normal weight showed a much higher tendency to be more biased against overweight people than any other category of doctor surveyed.

The group of researchers indicated that the study, which was published in PLoS ONE this week, was the first to establish a concrete anti-fat bias on the part of the medical community.

“We found that MDs’ implicit and explicit attitudes about weight follow the same general pattern seen in the very large public samples that hold strong implicit and explicit anti-fat bias,” the doctors wrote in the study.

The authors made clear in the research that they were unsure how certain anti-fat attitudes of doctors affected clinical behavior, if any.

“It is not surprising that implicit and explicit weight bias exists among doctors, similar to the general population,” said Janice Sabin, the study’s lead author from the University of Washington, about the study. “It is important for physicians to be aware that this bias exists and to ensure that personal bias does not have a negative impact on the doctor-patient relationship.”

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