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The Impact of Weight Bias in Obesity and IIH

Dr. Cienfuegoes discusses the negative impact that weight stigma has on the care of a patient.

Dr. Sofia Cienfuegos has her PhD in human nutrition and is well-published in many medical journals. Her interests are in intermittent fasting and non-pharmacologic treatment of obesity. She held a live webinar on “The Impact of Weight Bias in Obesity and IIH” to help spread awareness to providers of the negative impact that weight stigma has on the care of a patient.

Here are some key points to her lecture:

  • Using the BMI equation as the sole way to measure one’s weight status is ineffective and outdated.
  • Using energy balance “calories in and calories out” is an ineffective therapy in the management of weight loss.
  • Cienfuegos explained the Obesity System Map to show that increased weight or weight gain is multifactorial and can include: excess caloric intake, food choices, economic, psychological, and social factors, level of activity, and genetics.
  • Weight Stigma is defined as “The discriminatory acts and ideologies targeted towards individuals because of their weight and size.” This bias can lead to stereotyping and beliefs that are harmful in the care of patients who are overweight or obese.
  • Weight stigma in the medical setting can have life-or-death consequences and presented a case of a postpartum patient who was ignored when she presented with weight gain and her provider disregarded her complaints for several years. She ultimately was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
  • 40% of healthcare professionals admit to having negative reactions to patients with obesity.
  • Strategies to prevent weight stigma for healthcare providers and the public in general is to treat every patient with dignity and respect, create a safe space for patients to discuss their weight, before discussing weight loss, perform appropriate exams and tests, take a comprehensive approach and consider referral to a weight loss specialist, and nutritionists.

Thank you Dr. Sofia Cienfuegos for presenting an important and challenging topic on weight stigma. We hope with this lecture it will promote awareness to providers in taking more of a compassionate approach to every patient regardless of size or disability. We thank you for your research in obesity and weight loss. You can watch her 1-hour lecture on our website or Youtube and can follow her on Instagram @Sofia100.

Our next live webinar will be on Thursday, July 13th at 6pm EST. Our guest lecture will be Dr. Athos Patsalides. He is a Neurointerventionalist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City and has pioneered novel treatment for IIH and pulsatile tinnitus and is an international expert for the diagnosis and treatment of venous sinus stenosis. We will announce the topic for this lecture and will update our website next week. To register for this talk, click here.

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