Doctors who fat-shame patients can be hurting their health - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Doctors who fat-shame patients can be hurting their health

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Fat shaming can be bad for your health and not just your self-esteem. 

New research shows doctors may be the biggest offenders, when it comes to making people ashamed of the number on the scale. 

A study presented at the American Psychological Association's annual convention shows that this type of "medical fat shaming" can come in the form of disrespectful treatment, lectures about your weight, embarrassing comments and a less thorough examination. 

Health magazine reports that even well-meaning physicians can ruin a patient's experience at the doctor's office-and potentially inflict long-term damage to their well-being.

The study suggests that doctors need to be more aware of behaviors in their offices. They may think that fat patients don't know what's best for them and need to be protected from their unhealthy behaviors. But most over-weight people know they're fat. They don't need to be told. 

For example, when patients feel uncomfortable being weighed in public areas, they may be hesitant to visit the doctor even for problems unrelated to weight. 

The research also suggests that the medical community excludes overweight people from clinical trials, which could mean that recommended medication doses may not be appropriate for them.  Some studies have suggested this to be the case for certain antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs.

And while sometimes it is appropriate for doctors to discuss weight and recommend weight loss to patients, experts stress that there's a right and a wrong way to go about it.

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