Watch Your Words to Lose the Weight Bias in Health Care

March 08, 2023 by Elisa Becze BA, ELS, Editor

Weight bias and stigma are evident across all professionals in the health care industry, including physicians, nurses, dietitians, and mental healthcare providers, researchers reported ( in Nursing Clinics of North America. They said that using people-first language is critical to reducing bias and discrimination.

The authors reviewed the literature to understand the implications of weight bias and stigma across multiple environments throughout society, including health care. The reviewed studies reported that ( patients identified physicians as the second primary source of weight bias following family members and that weight bias may be a learned behavior from faculty and preceptors among both physicians and nurse practitioners.

They also cited studies reporting that ( healthcare workers may inadvertently perpetuate implicit bias with their word choices during patient conversations about weight. Evidence-based strategies to counteract that behavior include:

Learn how to apply the IMPLICIT mnemonic to your practice with ONS’s Implicit Bias Huddle Card (

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