It seems as though more healthcare facilities are implementing Bariatric Sensitivity Training. Through this training, healthcare workers are becoming more familiar with some of the types of bias and discrimination that the obese tend to endure.
In recent healthcare studies, it has been estimated that over 60% of individuals are overweight, 18% obese, and 6% are severely obese. However, less than 1% of medical research dollars are used for understanding obesity, and nearly half of medical professionals admitted feeling uncomfortable caring for the obese.
Becoming more aware of the bias against bariatric patients, healthcare workers are able to better understand the struggles and fears of the obese patients and therefore can provide better care.
What are the objectives of Bariatric Sensitivity Training?
• Define obesity and stigma
• Describe how weight stigma affects a person’s quality of life
• Increase awareness of weight bias among health care professionals
• Raise awareness and improve the attitudes of healthcare providers towards obese patients
What causes Obesity and what are the Stigmas?
Obesity is caused by a variety of factors such as: eating too many calories, not getting enough exercise, genetics, metabolism, behavior and even environment. Many obese patients are faced with negative attitudes from healthcare workers or others that influence their interpersonal interactions.There are many stereotypes when it comes to an obese person.
Some of these stereotypes include:
• Poor self discipline
• Emotionally unstable
• Poor hygiene
How can health care providers help?
Healthcare workers are trained in this course to consider that patients may have has negative experience with other healthcare professionals and to be sensitive to this issue. It is important to recognize that the person being overweight could be a product of many factors and many obese patients have really tried to lose weight repeatedly. Health care providers are taught to emphasize behavioral changes rather than weight while at the same time acknowledging the difficulty it can be for that lifestyle change. Also, try to convey that any weight loss, no matter how small can result in big health gains and always try to create a supportive environment for your bariatric patients.