Stigma patients with improper body weight by healthcare professionals – pilot study

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Martyna Gruszka, Grzegorz Kudela, Tomasz Koszutski

4 (61) 2019 s. 319–325
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Fraza do cytowania: Gruszka M., Kudela G., Koszutski T. Stigma patients with improper body weight by healthcare professionals – pilot study. Polski Przegląd Nauk o Zdrowiu. 2019;4(61):319–325. DOI:

Introduction. The number of people struggling with abnormal mass is still growing, which causes an increase in the percentage of people exposed to the development of civilization diseases related to this disorder and a decrease in their quality of life. The declining quality of life of obese people or significant underweight is undoubtedly influenced by negative social attitudes. Negative stereotypes affect the attitude, behavior and decisions of health care workers towards this group of patients. Aim of the study. The aim of the study was to get the opinion of medical personnel on obesity and underweight patients as well as to analyze the stigmatization of both groups of patients by medical staff. Material and methods. A total of 147 employees of Silesian hospitals participated in the study. The group of respondents included: 76 nurses, 6 midwives, 39 doctors, 13 physiotherapists, 5 nutritionists, 8 paramedics. Anonymous questionnaire, containing 44 original questions, was conducted in all subjects. The obtained results were subjected to statistical analysis. Results. 41.5% of respondents refused to be hospitalized to an obese person if their body weight had not decreased over the last three months and the condition would not endanger the patient’s life. According to 49% of respondents, people with underweight or obesity are discriminated against by medical personnel, and 44.2% of respondents admitted that the patient’s weight significantly influences the quality of medical services offered. Conclusions. Studies show that eating disorders in the form of obesity or malnutrition affect the attitude of medical staff to these patients. Working with a patient burdened with obesity, significantly increases the workload of medical personnel, both in physical and mental aspects.

Key words: obesity, underweight, stigmatization, medical personnel.

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