Healthcare Providers

Weight bias and weight stigma exist in healthcare settings, causing harm to patients who have a higher body weight. Patients with higher weight face bias and stigma from physicians, nurses, psychologists, dietitians, medical students, and even professionals who specialize in obesity. Some healthcare professionals perceive patients with higher weight to be lazy, lacking in willpower, unmotivated to improve health, and noncompliant with treatment.  When patients feel judged or stigmatized about their weight, this can lead to lower trust of their healthcare providers, poorer quality of care, and avoidance of healthcare.

To equip healthcare professionals with knowledge and tools to provide more respectful, supportive, and compassionate care to patients of all body sizes, The Rudd Center has developed a free educational resource titled Supportive Obesity Care.

The Supportive Obesity Care website, which was created in collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company, aims to raise awareness of how weight stigma manifests in the healthcare setting, educate clinicians about the damaging effects of weight stigma on patients, and offer practical strategies that are applicable in everyday clinical practice to improve supportive patient care. We invite you to use and share the educational videos, podcasts, and handouts throughout this website.

Screenshot of Supportive Obesity Care training tool focused on weight stigma in the healthcare setting


Training Modules

The Supportive Obesity Care website, which the Rudd Center created in collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company, is an educational resource for clinicians. Throughout the collection of evidence-based educational videos, podcasts, handouts, and resources, we provide strategies to improve healthcare delivery to patients and reduce weight bias in clinical care:

Screenshot of Supportive Obesity Care resources focused on weight bias

Additionally, the Rudd Center created two online learning modules for the World Obesity Federation to further educate providers about the consequences of weight bias for health and healthcare. These modules highlight the importance of addressing weight bias in broader health communication both within and outside of the medical setting.

Finally, Obesity Canada created a free course that dives into the complexities of weight bias and stigma. This comprehensive program explores the effects of societal attitudes toward body weight, highlighting the emotional, physical, and psychological toll it takes on individuals, societies, healthcare professionals, and communities.

    Informational Handouts & Resources

    For clinicians working with patients who have obesity, this resource provides an overview of the harmful health consequences of weight bias, and summarizes strategies to improve provider-patient communication and increase awareness of personal biases that could unintentionally compromise patient care. For providers:
    weight bias in healthcare, weight bias, weight stigma weight bias in healthcare, weight bias, weight stigma
    weight bias in healthcare, weight bias, weight stigma
    weight bias in healthcare, weight bias, weight stigma
    For your patients:

    For Pediatric Providers

    Weight-Related Conversations Knowledge Transition Casebook: This practical guide is designed to help healthcare professionals have positive weight-related conversations with children and their families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) has launched a free accredited training series for pediatric and adolescent healthcare providers. This online series, created by the Rudd Center’s Dr. Rebecca Puhl, offers evidence-based strategies for compassionate, targeted weight management and obesity prevention in girls. Physicians, doctors of osteopathy, dietitians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses will earn 1 CME/CEU credit for completing each 1-hour training module. Part 1 of the series consists of two training modules: American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement Addressing Weight Stigma:

    Presentations & Other Tools

    Columbia University: Dr. Rebecca Puhl presents on the impact of weight discrimination and weight stigma in healthcare for Columbia's Bioethics Program and the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics of the Department of Medicine. Maine Health: Dr. Rebecca Puhl joins Maine Health's 10th Annual Let’s Go! National Obesity Conference to discuss weight bias and stigma and what healthcare providers can do to improve care. University of Oxford, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology: This lecture by Rebecca Puhl, from the Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, explains the damaging impact of weight stigma. The diaTribe Foundation d20 Lightning Talks brought together five leaders in the field to explore the impact of diabetes stigma and what can be done to end it. Dr. Puhl's talk examined the impacts of disease stigma and what can be done to address it. UK Association for the Study of Obesity: This international talk, given for the UK Association for the Study of Obesity, provides a summary of the evidence on health consequences of weight stigma. Business Group on Health Podcast: Weight bias is a pervasive problem in our society, showing up in our homes, physician offices and even the workplace. But weight bias isn’t just a social injustice, it’s also a public health issue due to its far-ranging effects on those who experience and internalize it. In this episode of the Business Group on Health podcast, Dr. Rebecca Puhl joins to talk about the consequences of weight-based blame and shame on patients, employees and children, as well as how we can recognize and reduce weight bias. The Leading Voices in Food Podcast: Dr. Rebecca Puhl joined Dr. Kelly Brownell, Director of the World Food Policy Center at Duke University, for two episodes discussing weight stigma. The first explains the consequences of weight stigma and the different types of stigma that exist. The second dives further into the issue to explain what might be done to prevent weight stigma and how to reduce its impact. Produced by The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, this tool equips physicians with skills for building a safe, trusting environment with patients and facilitating productive conversations about weight.

    Video: Weight Bias in Healthcare

    In this video, Professor Rebecca Puhl provides a summary of weight stigma in healthcare and how this creates barriers for effective patient care. This resource can be found on the Supportive Obesity Care website - a collection of educational videos, podcasts, and handouts designed for use by healthcare professionals.

    Watch the video

    Video: Understanding Weight Stigma and Strategies to Improve Patient Care

    This video combines content from several videos on the Supportive Obesity Care website, providing a comprehensive overview of weight stigma, its impact on health, and strategies to reduce weight bias in patient care. This longer video (55:12) is appropriate for educational purposes in courses, seminars, staff training, and Grand Rounds presentations.

    Watch the video