The Weight of Stigma: Heavier Patients Confront a Bias

A look at how a bias on body size affects care of heavier patients, something the medical community is beginning to recognize, and do something about.

Many people who are heavier say they sometimes avoid seeking medical care out of fear of mistreatment because of their size. Patients report misdiagnoses, with their symptoms being blamed on weight, while some doctors have described heavier patients as weak-willed, lazy and noncompliant.

Weight stigma shows up in health care in many ways, from the size of blood pressure cuffs or hospital gowns to the amount of time doctors spend with their higher-weight patients.

But the medical community is beginning to recognize the importance of weight bias, and doing something about it.

This documentary was created in partnership with Scientific American. You can view past collaborations here.

  • Producer/ Editor/ Narrator: Kelso Harper
  • Senior Producer: Kit R. Roane