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Episode 66: Weight Bias In The Society


Weight Bias In The Society

People with obesity are often the subject of jokes.  Whether at school, work, home, or even in the healthcare system, it is likely that you are being treated differently because of your weight. The truth is that our society is plagued by weight bias.

Even though most health care providers view obesity as a disease, it is not taken seriously like hypertension or diabetes.  Weight bias is a serious problem in our society.

In today’s episode, I am joined by Dr. Sarah Smith, a board-certified Obesity Medicine physician, and a life coach, to shed more light on this important topic of weight bias.




Key Highlights:

Listen to this conversation with Dr. Sarah Smith and learn:

  • The truth about weight bias, and what causes it.
  • How does weight bias manifest?
  • Why are media platforms big drivers of weight bias
  • What is people-first language and why it is an important tool for treating obesity in patients?
  • Examples of overt and subtle forms of weight biases
  • How does saying ‘being obese’ vs ‘suffering from obesity’ make a huge difference?
  • What causes women with obesity to earn less than women without obesity

 Reactions from Patients who Experienced Weight Bias:

  • Tend to have less weight loss & avoid exercise
  • Feel berated and disrespected
  • Reluctant to talk to their doctors about weight
  • Feel blamed or dismissed
  • Increase maladaptive eating disorders

Ways to Address and Prevent Weight Bias in Obesity Medicine Practice:

  •  Becoming aware of our personal biases as healthcare providers
  •  Working with your staff and educating others
  • Making appropriate use of language and asking patients if they feel comfortable being    weighed or discussing their weight
  • Start changing weight bias at the grassroots level by talking more about it
  • Being empathic; not judging prematurely; knowing what they are going through
  • Finding the right healthcare team
  •  Learn more at Obesity Action Coalition



Dr. Sarah Smith

Obesity is multifactorial and very complex, it’s a medical condition. And so, we can’t blame the patient, we have to look at it from all angles.”

“The more we’re aware of our own biases, the more we can educate ourselves and others the better.”

“Put the person first and not their diagnosis. You do not label the individual based on their condition; thus, you would not say he is obese, but he has obesity, acquiring a different perspective.”


Dr. Avishkar Sabharwal

“People may have the best intentions but may not necessarily use the best words for lack of knowledge.”

“It may be helpful to pause and take a moment to understand what is going on inside you when you’re seeing a patient, whether they are obese or not. Once you know what’s going on internally, I believe you are better prepared to handle that biased situation.”



Obesity Action Coalition 

Dr. Sarah Smith: WebsiteFacebook, InstagramLinkedin 


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