Obesity; Physician Held Stigma; Disparities of Healthcare


Internal Medicine | Interprofessional Education | Medical Humanities | Preventive Medicine | Primary Care


Obesity is a growing epidemic that continues to garner attention throughout healthcare. The goal of this study was to review the literature on physician bias and stigmas surrounding obesity to assess the current state of research on connections between obesity-related stigma and the health outcomes and care of patients with obesity. A specific search string was used to obtain articles via PubMed and psychINFO, yielding 14 studies found that investigate these connections. The studies were categorized into three distinct pathways leading from physician stigma and biases to differing health outcomes of patients with obesity. These three pathways- perceptions, patient interaction, and clinical practice- are a novel way to look at the ways provider bias affects patients with obesity. This system allowed us to highlight significant health disparities among patients experiencing obesity. We propose several areas for future research to reduce physician bias, further characterize the impacts of provider bias on outcomes, and identify interventions for change.