“The most prevalent bias in health care currently is weight bias,” Stanford said. “About 60% of [physicians] exhibit some form of explicit bias.”
Patients with obesity commonly delay seeking care or do not seek care in general because they feel stereotyped, judged or threatened by environmental cues that are in the office, she said. Thus, the patient may avoid care, have stress, mistrust their providers and feel as though they are not in a safe place, she said. In addition, patients who feel weight bias may have poor adherence to medications because they don’t value their provider, which leads to poor communication between the patient and the provider and consequently, poor patient outcomes, she said.