Dr. Sabin studies the biases of healthcare providers and how they may affect patient care, using insights collected through a virtual laboratory based at Harvard University, where people can take online tests that uncover bias against weight, race, and other topics. “It’s a rapid-fire process, where people can’t stop and think about what they want to say,” she said. The database has more than 300,000 responses from the general public, and Dr. Sabin has studied the responses of those who self-identify as medical doctors (though medical specialties were not specified). A physician can show explicit bias, openly admitting he or she does not want to treat an obese patient, as well as implicit bias, a prejudice the physician does not realize he or she holds.
“Anecdotally, it’s pretty obvious that overweight or obese is a problem in healthcare,” said Dr. Sabin, who published her findings in 2012 (PLoS One. 2012;7:e48448). (Overweight people are those who have a body mass index number of 25 to 29.) “Looking at the data, physicians recorded very strong thin-versus-fat preferences, a very strong anti-bias. These are attitudes they might not be aware they have. It’s not a surprise, as these attitudes are very prevalent in society.”| ← Previous | | | Next → | Single Page