By telling fat people they need to lose weight, doctors are harming their patients, leftist psychologists are warning.
Telling obese – and unhealthy – patients that it would be in their best interest to drop a few pounds, and presumably exercise more, is causing them harm both “mentally and physically,” two shrinks said … claiming that the obese experience these “microaggressions” at the doctor’s office repeatedly.
Joan Chrisler, a psychology professor at Connecticut college, said “sizeism,” is like “racism” and can be just as harmful. She made her remarks during a convention of the American Psychological Association, The Daily Caller reports.
It’s possible to be healthy at every size, and being “fat” leads doctors to the “false assumption” that a person is unhealthy, with little understanding of the obese person’s genetics, stress levels, socioeconomic class an diet.
Disrespectful treatment and medical fat shaming, in an attempt to motivate people to change their behavior, is stressful and can cause patients to delay health care seeking or avoid interacting with providers,” said professor Chrisler, whose symposium was titled “Weapons of Mass Distraction – Confronting Sizeism.”
“Sizeism” has an effect on how doctors treat their patients – who are frequently excluded from medical research because of preconceptions about their health and lifestyle (like, they’re fat?).
“Research has shown that doctors repeatedly advise weight loss for fat patients while recommending CAT scans, blood work or physical therapy for other, average weight patients,” said the professor, who stated that in some cases doctors wrongly assume that their obesity is the cause of symptoms they experience.
“Thus, they could jump to conclusions or fail to run appropriate tests, which results in misdiagnosis,” she said.
Telling fat patients to adopt healthier lifestyles, lose weight and exercising can make fat people feel bad about themselves and can cause “psychological stress.” These are examples of “microaggressions,” she said.
“Implicit attitudes might be experienced by patients as microaggressions — for example, a provider’s apparent reluctance to touch a fat patient, or a headshake, wince or ‘tsk’ while noting the patient’s weight in the chart,” she said. “Microaggressions are stressful over time and can contribute to the felt experience of stigmatization.”
Joining Chrisler, fellow psychologist Maureen McHugh argued that the medical view of obesity as a disease and weight loss as a cure contributed to poor health.
“A weight-centric model of health assumes that weight is within an individual’s control, equates higher weight with poor health habits, and believes weight loss will result in improved health,” said McHugh, who argued that it was possible to be healthy at every size.
“Research demonstrates that weight stigma leads to psychological stress, which can lead to poor physical and psychological health outcomes for obese people,” argued McHugh, who added that the stigmatization of obese people through “fat shaming” posed “serious risks to their psychological health.”