Obesity has become a major area of research in many fields due to the increasing obesity rate not only in The United States, but also around the world. Research concerning obesity stigma has both physical and mental health implications. Weight bias and obesity stigma represent important research areas for health professionals as they confront these issues on a daily basis in interactions with their patients. To explore how gender, ethnicity, and a person's own BMI affect the stigma of certain weight related terms, a set of 264 participant's surveys on weight related situations on the campus of Arizona State University were analyzed. Using univariate analysis to determine frequency of words deemed most or least acceptable as well as independent t-test for gender and ANOVA for ethnicity and own BMI, we found that participant's view more clinical terms such as "unhealthy BMI" and "BMI" as acceptable words for use during a physician-patient interaction. Analysis across genders revealed the highest number of differences in terms, with females generally ranking terms across the board as less acceptable then men. Differences varied little between ethnicities; however, own BMI revealed more differences between terms; underweight participants did not rank any terms as positive. We analyzed average ATOP (Attitudes Toward Obese People) scores and found that there was no significant difference in average ATOP scores between gender and a participant's own BMI, but a statistical significance did exist between ethnic categories. This study showed that the term "obese/obesity", although normally considered to be a clinical term by many was not ranked as very positive across gender, ethnicity, or own BMI. Based on these findings, new material should be created to inform physicians on how to talk about weight related problems with certain populations of patients.
- Differences in Use of Terms to Describe Obesity as Compared to Gender, Ethnicity, and Own BMI and Stigma Implications for Health
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