Weight bias, weight stigma, and fat phobia: how to respond

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Conscious and unconscious weight bias can also affect your medical care. People with higher weights often report doctors as one of their biggest sources of stigma.


(Monica Lozano/ Verve Times) — Laken Brooks, 27, thinks weight bias might be why no one noticed her depression. At one point in college, the PhD student and freelance health writer couldn’t sleep. She’d forget to eat. Then she dropped nearly 30 pounds in a single semester.

Fast, unexplained weight loss is often a sign of another health problem, but her slimdown didn’t raise any red flags. “My friends and professors would remark that I looked great because of my weight loss,” she says, “but I felt like I was at the weakest – mentally and physically – point of my entire life.”

She reached out to her doctor for mental health help. The advice: “You’ll probably feel better soon if you keep losing weight.” Months later, Brooks says, she survived a suicide attempt. (…)

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