Do Doctors Discriminate Against Fat Women?

doctorAccording to this article on Yahoo! Shine, doctors are biased against overweight women, and as a result may be less patient with them or more dismissive of their health problems...Yikes! It's frightening to think that women would receive substandard health care because of their weight!


The article suggests that overweight and obese women may be discriminated by their doctors or healthy care professionals in the following ways:

  • Overweight women may have a harder time getting health insurance; furthermore, they may be forced to pay higher premiums than women who are not overweight.
  • With respect to medication, overweight women are more likely to be misdiagnosed or prescribed the wrong dosage. 
  • Doctors are less likely to detect cancer early enough for effective treatment in overweight women.
  • Overweight women are less likely to find a fertility doctor to help them have a child.

So why might some doctors and health care professionals overlook, misdiagnose, neglect, or fail to treat women who are overweight? The article suggests the following reasons:

  • Doctors assume that weight is within a women's control; therefore, they may be dismissive with a patient they assume "does not care" about their weight and other health issues.
  • Being overweight can complicate and exacerbate many health problems; doctors may assume that a woman's health problems are caused solely by their extra pounds and not something else that has yet to be diagnosed (cancer, disease, etc.).

Have you ever felt discriminated against by your doctor because of your weight? Should a person's weight determine whether or not they receive good health care?

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