Weight Bias in the Healthcare System with Judy Swift
In Part 4a, Dr. Judy Swift speaks about the weight bias that exists in the healthcare system against patients with diseases such as obesity and lipedema. She describes her research with medical and other healthcare students, which shows how pervasive weight bias is. She discovered that the students have interest in changing when this is brought to their attention. Dr. Swift points out the fact that healthcare professionals have to work to change this attitude of weight stigma within the system that currently exists. In Part 4b, Dr. Swift discusses the negative impact that anti-fat stigma can have on lipedema patients’ health and wellbeing. She talks about how of a lack of trust can develop if a doctor doesn’t believe the patient is doing their best to manage their weight. Dr. Swift suggests ways that healthcare practitioners can recognize and address weight bias, and begin to shift this attitude in the medical world. She also makes a case for the importance of change at a policy level. Dr. Judy Swift teaches health psychology and lectures on human nutrition at the University of Nottingham, UK. Her primary research focus is on communication strategies for obesity, including identifying, combating, and changing weight bias.
Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.