The procedure of fat shaming at the doctor's office can be harmful to both the mental and physical health of a patient, according to the new research published at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychologic Association, where Chrisler called fat shaming by a doctor a form of malpractice.
"Disrespectful treatment and medical fat shaming” is “stressful and can cause patients to delay health care seeking or avoid interacting with providers,” stated the abstract to the review published by Joan Chrisler and Angela Barney, researchers at Connecticut College’s Department of Psychology.
The study reviewed 46 past studies, in which researchers found doctors partiality towards obesity and habit of comparing patients.
Researchers revealed that fat shaming from a doctor can take a significant negative toll on a patient's health, as it can reduce trust in their health care provider. According to the researchers, in extreme cases, it can also cause a doctor to assume that a patient's weight is responsible for a host of health conditions and lead to a misdiagnosis.
“Recommending different treatments for patients with the same condition based on their weight is unethical and a form of malpractice,” Chrisler said. “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", she added.
In the review, researchers called for better training for health care providers so that patients of all sizes are treated with respect.