Better training cuts 'anti-obese' views16th April 2010
A new study has suggested students entering the health service in the UK need better training to prevent discrimination against obese patients.
With evidence suggesting high rates of “anti-fat prejudice” among health professionals, a trial of 159 students examined how to combat this.
Findings reported in the Obesity journal indicated this prejudice could be influenced with better teaching about the effect of genes and the environment on obesity.
Figures show that over the past 10 years, prejudice among the public towards overweight people has increased by 66% while among those working in health professions, including doctors and nurses, the rate of prejudice is even higher.
In the latest study 159 students - including nurse trainees - taking a seven-week course on public health were split into three groups.
One was taught solely about diet and exercise being the main cause and treatment for obesity; another was taught about uncontrollable reasons for obesity - such as genetics and environmental factors such as junk-food advertising – and a third "control" group taught about alcohol.
Those taught a standard obesity programme based on diet and exercise scored 27% higher on implicit or subconscious measures of prejudice while those taught about genetic and environmental causes scored 27% lower on a test of implicit prejudice.
Study leader Dr Kerry O'Brien from the University of Manchester said being taught solely about diet and exercise implied that obese people were just lazy and gluttonous, but to a large extent weight status is inherited and health professionals needed to be aware of other influences.
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Title: Better training cuts 'anti-obese' views
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 14646
Date Added: 16th Apr 2010