The impact of weight stigma on decisions about weight loss surgery

Joseph Black Giardino, Fordham University

Abstract

Obese individuals are increasingly seeking weight loss surgery (WLS) for the treatment of chronic obesity. Despite increases in these surgeries, little is known about how social factors impact decisions about WLS. Weight stigma—prejudicial, biased, or discriminatory of treatment of obese people—is on the rise and has negative health consequences for obese individuals. This study examined the impact of weight stigma on decisions about WLS in a diverse sample of 95 obese women seeking WLS (54.7% White; 31.6% Black). It was predicted that BMI, comorbidities, and weight stigma would predict (a) higher mortality risk-taking, and (b) lower decisional conflict. Binary logistic regressions were used to examine the hypotheses. Results indicated that BMI, comorbidities, and weight stigma significantly predicted mortality risk-taking. The model accounted for 11% of the variance in mortality risk-taking scores; however, only weight stigma significantly contributed to the model. The strength of the model increased after controlling for racial/ethnic differences. Among obese White women, the model accounted for 20% of the variance in mortality risk-taking scores. Each 1-unit increase in weight stigma led to a 6% increase in mortality risk-taking. Weight stigma did not predict lower decisional conflict. Findings from this study suggest that weight stigma may be a factor in obese women's decisions about WLS. Obese White women may be at particular risk for weight stigma. The implications for bariatric care are discussed.^

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Nutrition|Surgery|Cognitive psychology

Recommended Citation

Giardino, Joseph Black, "The impact of weight stigma on decisions about weight loss surgery" (2015). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3703225.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3703225

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