Date of Award
Open Access Thesis
MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)
Physician Assistant Studies
Weight bias is harmful to patients and pervasive in healthcare providers and healthcare students. Effective interventions to reduce weight bias in healthcare providers and students are urgently needed and would improve patient care and patient outcomes. A literature review of current research on interventions to reduce weight bias in healthcare professionals and students was conducted to evaluate strategies for efficacy. Twenty articles investigating weight bias reducing interventions in healthcare providers and students were analyzed. Five primary strategies are currently used: self- reflection and awareness of one’s own bias; empathy building experiences; the influence and experiences of others; narratives of and contact with obese people themselves; and education on the nonmodifiable factors that affect weight. Among them, education on the genetic, physiological, and environmental causes of obesity was the single most studied and effective strategy used for reducing explicit weight bias. Provider self-reflection on their own bias was also shown to be effective in reducing implicit bias. Contact with and narratives of obese people that presented obese people as happy and fulfilled people consistently reduced bias. Exposure to portrayals of obese people as unhappy or suffering did not reduce weight bias. No strategy was consistently effective in reducing implicit bias. Future research is needed to better understand what strategies best modify implicit weight bias over the long-term. Research that focuses on reducing weight bias in active, practicing healthcare providers is needed to better understand what would be most effective for wide application in healthcare systems.
Powers, Nora, "Interventions in Reducing Weight Bias in Healthcare Providers and Preservice Students" (2019). Theses and Graduate Projects. 965.