Monday, March 09, 2009

Overweight? Your dietitian probably doesn't like you.

At least not if the results from a recent study are in fact applicable to the profession as a whole.

Dr. Rebecca Puhl, one of the Rudd Center's researchers (and bloggers I might add) published a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association whereby she polled 200 dietitian students about their attitudes towards the obese.

Her findings were frightening.

Only 2% of those training to be dietitians had positive (and she included "neutral" as positive) attitudes towards the obese with the remaining 98% being moderately biased against prospective heavier patients.

Of course the same could be said of many health professionals (including doctors). Similar to the dietetic students in a comparable study medical students held almost universally negative beliefs while a study with practicing family physicians showed roughly 50 of them cultivating negative stereotypes.

I'm sure real-life dietitians with real-world experience are likely far less judgemental than the wide-eyed students in Rebecca's study (hint - here's a ripe study for the picking for someone with resources).

Clearly all health professionals have a long way to go at eliminating their own weight-related biases.