Stigma against obesity infuses many areas of life, but it’s especially damaging at the doctor’s. Your physician is likely to bring up the subject of your weight but unlikely to tell you anything helpful about it, as a recent Huffpost piece documented.
But there are good doctors out there — the trick is finding them. The Obesity Australia and Can Science Take The Weight Off has a wide variety of resources for those who are either seeking acceptance or help, including a doctor locator for those who aim to help you have a positive conversation about your weight and health.
They also have a tool to help you assess your weight and how to help put you back in control.
Over on Obesity Care Providers is a checklist of what to look for in a health care provider, which can help you figure out if a doctor—from their list or one you find elsewhere — is likely to be understanding and helpful.
For example, an easy tell is how they speak about weight issues. Do they use people-first language and treat you as an individual? The Obesity Action Coalition in America says:
Words such as “fat” or “obese” label individuals with their disease/condition. Look for providers that use respectful language when discussing weight. For example: “You are affected by obesity. Let’s work together on developing a health plan that fits your needs.”
You can also ask, before you make an appointment, about equipment and supplies in their office. Do they have waiting room seating that accommodates people of all sizes? Do they have gowns, scales, and blood pressure cuffs that will fit you? Squeezing into a too-small cuff can affect the reading, so the proper equipment is important to your health care even apart from how it makes you feel.