Obesity is a prevalent disease that is often a source of stigmatization. Weight bias has been documented in healthcare settings and associated with less physician time spent with patients, less patient-centered communication, and more patient delay or withdrawal from care. Weight bias is widespread in society and the healthcare field, including among medical students. This study examined the hypothesis that weight bias in medical students is related to negative attitudes toward weight management counseling (WMC), perceived WMC skills, and self-efficacy for WMC. A sample of 762 medical students during their core clerkship rotation (graduating class of 2017) from eight US medical schools completed questions related to weight bias, attitudes toward WMC, perceived WMC skills, and self-efficacy for WMC. Results indicated that medical students with more weight bias held more negative attitudes toward WMC, even after adjustment for age, gender, and intended medical specialty. Weight bias was not significantly related to perceived WMC skills or self-efficacy for WMC. Females had a more positive attitude toward WMC, but lower perceived WMC skills and self-efficacy for WMC than males. Males had significantly more weight bias and were less likely to choose primary care than females. Implications for medical education are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)