Research shows that doctors actually exhibit less respect for patients with higher body-mass indexes (BMI), and that that attitude can lower the quality of care for those patients, reports Martina Donkers.
In fact, many of the notions that medical professionals have about their fat patients are not supported by medical fact.
“I can’t help but think that there’s a whole lot of physical pain I could have avoided if any of the medical professionals I saw had considered the fact that I might have a sporting injury. And I can’t help but wonder if the reason they didn’t has to do with my weight,” says Donkers.
The science on excess weight is hardly settled. As Donkers notes, excess weight may or may not shorten an obese person’s life span. For example, numerous studies “have found that overweight people actually have lower rates of all-cause mortality than normal weight people.”
“When doctors looked at me,” Donkers points out, “they didn’t see a girl who danced, cycled, and played team sports. They saw a fat girl — and they based their diagnosis on stereotypes about what that meant.”