Thursday, January 21, 2010

Overweight women get substandard care from doctors

The surprising reason why being overweight isn't healthy
By Ginny Graves,
January 21, 2010

It's shocking, but it's true: Being a woman who's more than 20 pounds overweight may actually hike your risk of getting poor medical treatment. In fact, weighing too much can have surprising -- and devastating -- health repercussions beyond the usual diabetes and heart-health concerns you've heard about for years.

Recent studies have found, if you are an overweight woman you:

• May have a harder time getting health insurance or have to pay higher premiums

• Are at higher risk of being misdiagnosed or receiving inaccurate dosages of drugs

• Are less likely to find a fertility doctor who will help you get pregnant

• Are less likely to have cancer detected early and get effective treatment for it

What's going on here? Fat discrimination is part of the problem. A recent Yale study suggested that weight bias can start when a woman is as little as 13 pounds over her highest healthy weight.

"Our culture has enormous negativity toward overweight people, and doctors aren't immune," says Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Jerome Groopman, M.D., author of "How Doctors Think." "If doctors have negative feelings toward patients, they're more dismissive, they're less patient, and it can cloud their judgment, making them prone to diagnostic errors."...

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