Prejudice Against Overweight Patients: An Issue To Ponder - page 5

by TheCommuter 12,743 Views | 106 Comments Senior Moderator

Weight discrimination is the treatment of someone in an unfair manner due to the person's size. Even though extremely thin individuals are occasionally treated poorly due to their size, overweight and obese people are the most... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from Stephalump
    This argument has been done to death. We all know someone's grandmother smoked until she died in her sleep at 105 years old.

    We all know someone's aunt had a glandular problem that caused her to be obese but she still ran marathons and never had a health problem in her life.

    The point of preventative health is pinpointing issues that are likely to be a problem in the future. Obesity is likely to be a problem if not controlled. Smoking is likely to be a problem if not abandoned. Thus, grandma and aunt have nothing to do with anything.

    Preventative health care is the future. The only way we're going to be able to cut costs is to "make sure" people aren't getting sick to begin with. Should be interesting, to say the least.
    I totally agree, but it is impossible to "make sure" people don't get sick in the first place. I am in my late 40's and have heard about how bad smoking is for you all of my life, but guess what, people start smoking everyday. I don't care how good of a nurse someone is most of the time you cannot save people from themselves. While I was a pre-nursing student I heard MANY of my pre-nursing classmates talk about how they are going to change the world. For some reason they think being a nurse will give them special powers when dealing with a pt. They think a pt will take what a nurse tells them, adhere to it religiously, and live to be 110. s
  2. 3
    Quote from Esme12
    It's one thing to address someone's weight and another to treat them disrespectfully or disparagingly becasue of their weight is another.
    while there are insensitive jerks from all walks of life, i still question how many are being rude vs assertive?
    from my experience, obesity is a taboo subject in our society...
    and more often than not, there isn't any one correct way in sharing one's concerns.
    what i perceive as appropriate, another person will hear it as cruel.
    i have a hunch that many obese people are extremely sensitized to what they fear they'll be told, and defenses build accordingly.

    Quote from Leo*
    Now I'm not excusing the patient from personal responsibility. But it seems ridiculous to me that people can participate in all kinds of voluntary self-ordered care (like drug rehab and psychological services) but can't get their PCP to refer them to a nutritionist or get their health insurance to pay 30 bucks a week to see a personal trainer.
    interesting...
    in that pcps won't make referrals to the appropriate specialists.
    on my husband's side of the family, obesity is problematic and a few members have been very proactive in trying to lose weight.
    ea had their own dr and ea dr referred them to nutritionists/dietitians, as well as sev'l other resources.
    personally i've never met a dr who wouldn't make referrals and am shocked to hear of your experiences.

    i too, am frustrated with the pervasive discouragement from talking about obesity.
    obesity has risen to crisis proportions in this country and yet there always seems to be some type of excuse/reason as to why we shouldn't approach *that* subject.
    i find it esp disappointing amongst healthcare professionals.

    that said, i def agree that treaters shouldn't remind one of their obesity every time there's an office visit.
    but if the cc is (partly) r/t obesity, then talking about it is applicable.
    i would consider it negligent if a treater DIDN'T share his/her concerns. (yes, it's that serious an issue.)

    i'm very sorry for anyone that has experienced harsh and cruel degradation...i truly am.
    but i don't believe this is the majority of drs/treaters.
    of course all discussions are futile, if the addicted person isn't ready to change, for whatever reason.
    and it is crucial that families support their loved one, with all making sacrifices deemed necessary for success.
    as they say, it takes a village...
    and do believe there is a lot of support out there for if/when one is ready.
    until then, let's treat ea other with due consideration and sensitivity, today and always.

    gonna go eat my (seedless) watermelon.

    leslie
    Esme12, Aurora77, and Stcroix like this.
  3. 1
    Quote from Leo*



    Now I'm not excusing the patient from personal responsibility. But it seems ridiculous to me that people can participate in all kinds of voluntary self-ordered care (like drug rehab and psychological services) but can't get their PCP to refer them to a nutritionist or get their health insurance to pay 30 bucks a week to see a personal trainer.

    There are MANY chiropractors, physical therapists occupational therapists nutritionists etc that provide services that can improve the lives and health of the obese. Until our healthcare systems are willing to better accommodate these physical and theory based medical services I wouldn't anticipate that we can see a decline in weight related health issues.
    This is very, very true, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see this change in the near future. Eventually insurance companies are going to realize that a nutritionist and a personal trainer are FAR less expensive than $2000 worth of medications per month, countless specialist visits/tests, and weight loss surgery.

    Of course, I'm sure they'd much rather just exclude overweight people from their policies to begin with...
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  4. 3
    To be totally honest, I do have a certain amount of prejudice regarding morbidlly obese patients. When I have one I know that it really will increase my workload for the day; from having to use the hoyer lift, to washing the patient, changing incontinece briefs, even just a simple dressing change can be more difficult, not to mention the co-morbidities. It can be really tough on a healthcare worker's body.
    tcvnurse, JZ_RN, and Aurora77 like this.
  5. 0
    The issue I have with this is providers' inability to think outside the box... if you don't fall within the magic narrow range of your "ideal body weight", then you automatically have a problem. I developed a severe eating disorder when I was 18 and lost 1/3 of my body weight in 5 months. It was the only time in my life where I was of "ideal body weight" and it was the most unhealthy I have ever been. I have no doubt that I would be long dead by now if I kept that up yet on paper, I was a "healthy" weight. Today, I am happy and healthy yet technically "overweight" and I don't react all that well when my doctor goes on auto pilot and says stuff like "try to lose weight because of your BMI". The first time she said something like that I realized why I am a nurse and not a doctor... because nurses see the patient as a person with a history rather than just a number.
  6. 0
    One of my dearest, most wonderful, most generous friends is morbidly obese (two-plane-tickets obese). I love her so much, and it is so hard to watch her struggle with pain; it is difficult for her to breathe. She struggles with finding health care because she feels that every doctor will tell her that all her problems are because she is fat. It is a vicious cycle. Difficult to exercise, because of pain and fatigue; depressing as heck; the job discrimination; wearing a CPAP; her life is just HARD.

    Yet, I am a health professional; I know what excess weight does to a person. We have had clinic patients who have DIED because of being that obese. Abdominal fat creates insulin resistance...and on and on...

    It seems so simple. But it is so complicated.
  7. 0
    I think it has been pointed out that often times the interaction is that the fact that you are obese is mentioned and blamed for xyz problem but no solution so it often feels like a judgement.

    90% of my weight gain has been from medications. My provider at the time pointed out that I had gained weight since starting the medication, denied the fact that it was med related and told me to eat "salads" (yes but what KIND of salad )

    I think that is we didn't say YOU are obese and instead said you suffer from obesity the message might come across better. When you "are" obese it becomes hard to separate the pathology from the person.
  8. 0
    Quote from HM-8404

    I totally agree, but it is impossible to "make sure" people don't get sick in the first place. I am in my late 40's and have heard about how bad smoking is for you all of my life, but guess what, people start smoking everyday. I don't care how good of a nurse someone is most of the time you cannot save people from themselves. While I was a pre-nursing student I heard MANY of my pre-nursing classmates talk about how they are going to change the world. For some reason they think being a nurse will give them special powers when dealing with a pt. They think a pt will take what a nurse tells them, adhere to it religiously, and live to be 110. s
    Well of course newbies are idealistic! It's in our job description! I wouldn't be so quick to roll your eyes at the useful enthusiasm...it serves an important purpose in the field

    When school districts in our fair state started hiring freezes and handing out pink slips, older, more experienced teachers were the only ones finding work (much like nursing at the moment). One of the surprising outcomes of that was people started noticing something was missing: the fresh energy, the idealism, the excitement for new and innovative ideas and methods, all brought to you by brand new, know-nothing new grads.

    Anyway, yes, you're right. We cannot actually force anyone to not get sick. If anyone actually does believe that, it'll be a lesson hard learned. Newbie naivety aside, I altruistically hold myself and people I care about to a very high standard. It's just who I am. Fortunately for the world at large, I do believe you can tell the difference between someone who actually cares and wants to help and a bully.
  9. 1
    Quote from HM-8404
    One major problem I see is society is hurting young girls by trying to boost their self esteem. They tell them they "beautiful just like they are." That is a good thing to teach children, but don't overlook the health problems they face later in life if they don't get their weight under control.
    Ahhh yes. Because anorexia and bulimia are MUCH healthier than obesity.

    And why is it only fat young girls we're worried about? Shouldn't we be shaming young boys as well?
    KelRN215 likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from leslie :-D
    while there are insensitive jerks from all walks of life, i still question how many are being rude vs assertive?
    from my experience, obesity is a taboo subject in our society...
    and more often than not, there isn't any one correct way in sharing one's concerns.
    what i perceive as appropriate, another person will hear it as cruel.
    i have a hunch that many obese people are extremely sensitized to what they fear they'll be told, and defenses build accordingly.

    interesting...
    in that pcps won't make referrals to the appropriate specialists.
    on my husband's side of the family, obesity is problematic and a few members have been very proactive in trying to lose weight.
    ea had their own dr and ea dr referred them to nutritionists/dietitians, as well as sev'l other resources.
    personally i've never met a dr who wouldn't make referrals and am shocked to hear of your experiences.

    i too, am frustrated with the pervasive discouragement from talking about obesity.
    obesity has risen to crisis proportions in this country and yet there always seems to be some type of excuse/reason as to why we shouldn't approach *that* subject.
    i find it esp disappointing amongst healthcare professionals.

    that said, i def agree that treaters shouldn't remind one of their obesity every time there's an office visit.
    but if the cc is (partly) r/t obesity, then talking about it is applicable.
    i would consider it negligent if a treater DIDN'T share his/her concerns. (yes, it's that serious an issue.)

    i'm very sorry for anyone that has experienced harsh and cruel degradation...i truly am.
    but i don't believe this is the majority of drs/treaters.
    of course all discussions are futile, if the addicted person isn't ready to change, for whatever reason.
    and it is crucial that families support their loved one, with all making sacrifices deemed necessary for success.
    as they say, it takes a village...
    and do believe there is a lot of support out there for if/when one is ready.
    until then, let's treat ea other with due consideration and sensitivity, today and always.

    gonna go eat my (seedless) watermelon.

    leslie
    I agree 100% ....most are great but those few who are insensitive are growing.


Top