Autor Tópico: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people  (Lida 2239 vezes)

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Offline Snake

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"Just lose weight!"



A sensational medical story in the news this week was mostly seen as a curiosity, a lurid anomaly. The true significance of this story was missed both by mainstream media and healthcare professionals.

A woman in Oklahoma suffered for twelve years with a growing ovarian tumor that went undiagnosed. Everytime she went to the doctor, she was told she was just fat and needed to lose weight. After awhile she stopped going to the doctor. It wasn’t until she’d become so swollen that the circulation in her legs became compromised and they began to crack and ooze that a doctor finally took her seriously and admitted it wasn’t just a problem with “overeating.” During an exploratory surgery they discovered a 93 pound ovarian cyst. Yet even then, it was compared to a “big balloon, a big beach ball” and the news reports wrote mockingly of her walking around with a tumor she didn’t know was there.

Luckily, this woman’s tumor was benign. But “obese” women have higher death rates from many cancers than “normal” weight women. Several researchers have looked for reasons for this health disparity and have learned it isn’t because of their fat in the way that is popularly believed.

In the May 2000 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, doctors reported on a survey of 11,435 women which learned that the heaviest women had received less preventive cancer screenings — screenings that might identify cancers early at more treatable stages. They found 78% of fat women had had a pap smear compared to 84% of “normal” weight women. These differences remained even when accounting for age, education, illness and health insurance. They couldn’t explain the barriers to appropriate preventive care.

A study published last October in Cancer Detection Prevention did a chart review of men and women in 22 primary care practices and found obese patients were 25% less likely to be screened for colorectal cancer than non-obese ones. They said research was needed to identify the possible barriers.

Two other observational studies controlled for recognized barriers to care, such as access, insurance and education, and found that obese women are still less likely than normal weight women to obtain preventive gynecological services (pap smears, gynecological exams, clinical breast exams and mammograms). The barriers to fat women receiving health care were unidentified.

Those possible barriers were identified in a renowned study led by Dr. Marlene B. Schwartz at the Department of Psychology at Yale University in 2003. They administered an Implicit Associations Test and questionnaire of explicit attitudes and personal experiences with obesity to 389 medical professionals who specialize in the treatment and study of obesity. They found, on both implicit and explicit measures, significant anti-fat bias among health professionals. These professionals saw obese people as lazy, stupid and worthless. Their findings confirmed other published studies, but this one was noteworthy, they said, because these were primarily professionals who knew “that obesity is caused by genetic and environmental factors and is not simply a function of individual behavior” or “lifestyle choice.” They wrote:

The stigma of obesity is so strong, that even those most knowledgeable about the condition infer that obese people have blameworthy behavioral characteristics that contribute to their problem. Furthermore, these biases extend to core characteristics of intelligence and personal worth.

Similar negative attitudes towards fat people had been documented among medical students, dietitians and nurses. In one study, 31-42% of nurses said they would prefer not to care for obese patients at all. In another study, 17% of doctors said they were reluctant to perform pelvic exams on obese women. And in this study, anti-fat bias was highest among younger medical professionals, indicating a need to address fat stigma in medical training.



Dr. Schwartz and her colleagues suggested several potential implications for adversely affecting the care obese people receive. Perceptions of laziness might lead to blaming a person for his/her obesity, “which may influence the professionals’ behavior in both overt and subtle ways,” they said. “Factors such as time spent with patients, empathy, quality of interactions, optimism about improvement and willingness to provide support might be affected.” It would be understandable that these patients would avoid seeking care if they felt uncomfortable in the health care setting.

A study led by Nancy K. Amy, Ph.D., at the University of California, Berkeley, specifically sought to better define these barriers to fat women seeking care by looking at gynecological cancer screening. Their study was published in October, 2005, in the International Journal of Obesity, but received little notice, perhaps because its findings are uncomfortable to confront.

These researchers surveyed 498 white and African-American women with body mass indexes of 25 to >55. Over 90% of the women had health insurance. This study was not about access to care, but low utilization of available services.

Unrelated to their education, employment or health insurance status, 83% reported their weight was a barrier to getting care and more than half delayed seeking care because of their weight. The problem was especially significant among the women at the highest weights, with 68% of them delaying primary and preventive health care. Among women with BMIs of 25-35, 86% had received regular pap smears compared to only 68% of women with BMIs >55. Similar numbers for found for mammograms.

In revealing what fat women experience in the healthcare environment that they said were barriers to them seeking care, the researchers found that barriers increased in prevalence and severity with the women’s size. A negative attitude from healthcare providers had been experienced by 59% of fat women, with 46% reporting they had been treated disrespectfully. Most of the women felt they had received a lower quality of care because of their weight. And nearly two-thirds reported that a barrier for them in seeking preventive care is that they had been told to lose weight even if they were seeking medical care for a condition unrelated to their weight. And like the dismissive care this Okalahoma woman had experienced for years, fat women are often told their health concerns are simply because they're fat and that they just need to lose weight.

A surprising number of fat women, for instance, report that they’ve been counseled to have bariatric surgery and told they are going to die unless they lose weight, even when they sought a doctor’s care for a totally separate issue, such as eczema or an ear infection.

These researchers also surveyed 129 healthcare providers and more than half admitted they had no education about caring for larger patients. Also cited as a concern was the unavailability of appropriate supplies and equipment for larger patients, a problem seen regardless of the medical setting.

Professor Amy and colleagues concluded that women could be helped by learning what is appropriate care and attitudes, and for each woman to choose a caring provider she is comfortable with and can communicate her concerns to. They added:

Obese women will need assurance that they will receive the same quality care and respect as other women. Second, the providers need to be aware of the effect of barriers on women of different sizes. Long-term solutions involve enhancing the patient-provider relationship through training for positive attitudes and mutual respect.

http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2007/02/just-lose-weight.html
« Última modificação: 02 de Fevereiro de 2007, 11:36:35 por Snake »
Newton's Law of Gravitation:
What goes up must come down. But don't expect it to come down where you can find it. Murphy's Law applies to Newton's.

Eriol

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #1 Online: 02 de Fevereiro de 2007, 11:57:38 »
I am prejudiced against (really) fat people...

funny story, though...

Offline Guinevere

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #2 Online: 02 de Fevereiro de 2007, 12:48:28 »
Eriol, you are already on my orkut enemies list, don't make your situation worse

Eriol

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #3 Online: 02 de Fevereiro de 2007, 15:17:08 »
is that due to my political extremism or my (apparent) lack of sense of humour?

on-topic - No person does him or herself (not to mention the environment) any good by eating like a pig, not being able to do anything and eat even more because of that. Then again, what can you expect from people with nothing in their heads, like the average US housewife?
« Última modificação: 02 de Fevereiro de 2007, 15:19:19 por Rodrigo »

Offline Guinevere

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #4 Online: 02 de Fevereiro de 2007, 15:34:21 »
You're missing the point that those people don't "eat like a pig" but instead have several other problems, and on top of that, are regarded as "pigs" by people like you

Eriol

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #5 Online: 02 de Fevereiro de 2007, 16:01:21 »
How many obese people are so because of genetic heritage or bodily dysfunctions? Not that many, I'd think.

Regardless, about those with "other problems", I don't blame them, I blame the system. Doesn't make me sympathetic to them though, just like the fact that some people are forced into crime doesn't make me sympathetic to criminals.

rizk

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #6 Online: 02 de Fevereiro de 2007, 20:55:59 »
Even if the fat person has an unhealthy lifestyle, that doesn't mean that she deserves to be treated disrespectfully.

They are PAYING for medical assistance, for crying out loud!

Offline Buckaroo Banzai

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #7 Online: 02 de Fevereiro de 2007, 21:25:20 »

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IT'S NOT THE ARABS, IT'S MCDONALD'S

Turns out we can't blame the Arabs for fuel shortages and rising prices at the gas pumps.  It's all those Big Macs and Super-Sized Fries.

According to a new study in the October-December issue of The Engineering Economist (one of my favorite reads when I'm not sticking pins in my eyes,) Americans are now pumping 938 million gallons of fuel more annually than they were in 1960 as a direct result of their big fat asses.  According to the researchers, with gas prices averaging $3 a gallon, the tab for overweight people in a vehicle amounts to $7.7 million a day, or $2.8 billion a year.  The numbers are added costs linked directly to the extra drain of body weight on fuel economy.

Apparently if we all went on a diet and brought the national average back down to 1960 levels, we would save nearly 1 billion gallons of gasoline each year.

Think about it. If not for McDonald's, we wouldn't have needed to invade Iraq.


http://rjr10036.typepad.com/proceed_at_your_own_risk/2006/11/its_not_the_ara.html

Offline Guinevere

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #8 Online: 02 de Fevereiro de 2007, 21:32:07 »
duh! what about the en-bottle-ments? :lol:

Offline Buckaroo Banzai

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #9 Online: 02 de Fevereiro de 2007, 22:05:59 »
Even if the fat person has an unhealthy lifestyle, that doesn't mean that she deserves to be treated disrespectfully.

They are PAYING for medical assistance, for crying out loud!

Some people think that, with some degree of "disrespect", not taking what is unhealty as normal and plainly acceptable, it could be an incentive (a negative, but an incentive, never the less), psychologically pushing people into healthier lifestyles.

At the same time, it could work preemptively, as individuals would have less self acceptance of unhealty image, and would be more conscious of habits that could lead to that. It would also be less politically incorrect/impolite to people censure each other of unhealty habits.

These days, censuring people for being fat is more akin to censuring someone for being black or asian, than it is to censure someone's unhealthy habits such as alcohol abuse and smoking, which indicates a high degree of acceptance of the "fat" body image as something that just is natural and healthy as a race/ethincity, rather than the result of an unhealthy behaviour that can be changed.

If everybody felt free to point that to each other, without fearing being impolite or embarrassment, then people in general would tend mutually incentive each other into healthier lifestyles. Currently, even people with some degree of intimacy sometimes do not feel very comfortable to discourage that to their cared ones, fearing to hurt their feelings, and those who discourage that in general more or less like I'm doing right now are seen as rude ruthless bastards.

I think I saw something related to that in the documentary "super size me".

rizk

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #10 Online: 03 de Fevereiro de 2007, 21:23:19 »
That reminds me too much of the enlighment philosophers thoughts on the weight of the public opinion - no pun intended.

One must understand that, under that light, it's not easy being fat, let alone being obese. Yes, there are genetic causes, but, in my view, many people are fat as a result of depression - not in the strict medical sense. Sometimes, we have no pleasure in anything but eating, and chocolate gives us a more direct and TANGIBLE pleasure than, say, looking like a cover girl. Eating is easy and cheap, and we feel it in the tip of our tongues - literally.

Whay would we take away the joie de vivre from people who are not causing us any direct harm? And, worse than that, why would we let them be SICK because of our NEGLIGENCE, based on our personal bias?
It's not like smokers, drug addicts, pedophiles, and such - as we were discussing in other topic. THIS surely is fascism.

It's a completely different thing from advising peolpe who are close to us to try and be healthier. And, yes, it is rude to give advice concerning other peoples choices and lifestyles to strangers. We don't know what they have to go through.



(I should give up writing in english, and apologise in advance)

Eriol

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #11 Online: 04 de Fevereiro de 2007, 10:05:57 »
there's not a single mistake in your text. Your English is flawless.

Offline Buckaroo Banzai

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #12 Online: 04 de Fevereiro de 2007, 12:13:47 »
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Yes, there are genetic causes, but, in my view, many people are fat as a result of depression - not in the strict medical sense.
Probably there are some genetic influence, but it can also be a excuse to not even trying, while in fact, no genetic influence whatsoever can create matter from nothing; so ultimately it depends on what and how much a person eats and exercises anyway.

Whay would we take away the joie de vivre from people who are not causing us any direct harm?
It can be interpreted both as "taking away the joie de vivre" from people or as helping them from a cicle of unhappyness.

Most people do not really like to weight more than what is considered healthy or even somewhat overweight, so it may be a bit like that fat guy in some of the Austin Power's movies, where he says that he eats because he is sad, and to eat makes him sad.

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And, worse than that, why would we let them be SICK because of our NEGLIGENCE, based on our personal bias?
I'm not sure if I got what your point... but again it can be interpreted the other way around... (I guess)

Let's take an example mentioned in the text:

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A surprising number of fat women, for instance, report that they’ve been counseled to have bariatric surgery and told they are going to die unless they lose weight, even when they sought a doctor’s care for a totally separate issue, such as eczema or an ear infection.

It is extremely hard to me to see how that can be a serious example of bias against fat people. Just think if was someone that went to the doctor about obesity problems, but he detected also something like cancer or whatever. The doctor should remain silent about the other issue, just because the patient didn't asked specifically about this problem, and one thing has no effect on the other? Or imagine if was someone that went there for another issue, and the doctor said that he or she is extremely malnourished. Would that be also impolite, a personal bias against extremely skinny people?

As I've said, it's as if being fat was just like having a certain skin color or ethnicity, rather than as a health issue. Not even doctors are allowed to give medical advice, for political correctness.

A better reason why people shouldn't really be more "disrespectful" in this matter would be simply admiting that selfishness, not worring about other people's problems is the easiest way to go. And it is, in fact. But for doctors, at very least, that shouldn't be condemned, that would be forcing them to be negligent.

Additionally, I think that would also be very good to public health if they created laws and protocols about a few things. Perhapts something like that would be more impersonal and thus less "offensive". I think of things like prohibiting fast food chains of having exaggerated sizes or portions of what they sell, such as the ones they have in USA (where obesity is considered epidemic, and inflicts 60% of people, according to "super size me"). If I'm not mistaken, there are things like 2 or 3 litre cups for soft drinks. Protocols would prohibit the waiter or waitress to offer or ask if the client wants the bigger size upfront, leting he or she make the decision with minimal influence, and giving medium-sized portions by default. Regulating advertising also would be important.

But again, some people could argue, "how dare can they take away the option of a single super-enormous portion from me, forcing me to the embarrassment of asking for 3 big sized portions? And how dare waiters do not even ask if I want the bigger size portion, forcing me to the ask for that in line, forcing me to expose myself in front of many people?"

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It's not like smokers, drug addicts, pedophiles, and such - as we were discussing in other topic. THIS surely is fascism.
... I wouldn't go as far as compare it to pedophilia... but I think that it is somewhat like smoking and other habits. While there is no "second hand eating", the "it's plainly okay to be fat" meme can also have bad effects on other people's health, and not only at a few metres. A bit like the "smoking [or using another drug] is cool" and "not using any drug is square" memes. Not that should be something like a special area for people that overeat in restaurants or something :D

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It's a completely different thing from advising peolpe who are close to us to try and be healthier. And, yes, it is rude to give advice concerning other peoples choices and lifestyles to strangers.
Sometimes I think that it may even cross the line of what is acceptable to mention to closer people but not to a stranger, to something that one could answer "how come do you say that to me? I thought you were my friend".

Offline Eremita

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Re: The often cruel consequences of the current negative bias against fat people
« Resposta #13 Online: 10 de Fevereiro de 2007, 06:04:43 »
(Only for true obesity cases)

Can it be self negligence? Yep. Pretty much of the cases, it IS. But we can't forget that personality is forged by the environment AND the genetic. And, to say "they don't have self determination, they know that can stop eating so much and be healthy" don't help anyway.

What can be made is from government. I will say what I think, w/o specify one or another country:

1) Public PROPAGANDA for a healthier life style. You friend can't say "hey, you are fat", but the government can (of course, if you don't have affectional links w/ the government).

1a) The propaganda must be effective. Target the teenagers. And show them the reality without down their pride or creat more discrimination.

1b) It must include physical activities as well...

2) Expressly PROHIBIT schools to sell fa(s)t-food. But you can't take the liberty of schoolboys. If they want eat fat in the school, bring from home.
[In off: I forgot... this would injure market freedom, it doesn't??? And, what's the trouble?]

3) Stimulate people to have two jobs: a physical and a intelectual/bureaucratic. But we aren't in such perfect world...

Hey, guys, what do u think?
Monoteísmo é a hidra de Lerna. Con Kolivas estava certo sobre o desktop. Prozac não deixa tudo melhor. Aquiles devia ter escolhido os dois destinos, juntos. Coração sentimental + mente cética = aflição. Sou responsável pelo que digo, não pela sua interpretação sobre o que digo.

 

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