The Effect of an Education Module to Reduce Weight Bias among Medical Centers Employees: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Shiri Sherf-Dagan, Yafit Kessler, Limor Mardy-Tilbor, Asnat Raziel, Nasser Sakran, Mona Boaz, Vered Kaufman-Shriqui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Weight bias, stigma, and discrimination are common among healthcare professionals. We aimed to evaluate whether an online education module affects weight bias and knowledge about obesity in a private medical center setting. Methods: An open-label randomized controlled trial was conducted among all employees of a chain of private medical centers in Israel (n = 3,290). Employees who confirmed their consent to participate in the study were randomized into intervention or control (i.e., "no intervention") arms. The study intervention was an online 15-min educational module that included obesity, weight bias, stigma, and discrimination information. Questionnaires on Anti-Fat Attitudes (AFA), fat-phobia scale (F-scale), and beliefs about the causes of obesity were answered at baseline (i.e., right before the intervention), 7 days, and 30 days post-intervention. Results: A total of 506, 230, and 145 employees responded to the baseline, 7-day, and 30-day post-intervention questionnaires, respectively. Mean participant age was 43.3 ± 11.6 years, 84.6% were women, and 67.4% held an academic degree. Mean F-scale scores and percentage of participants with above-average fat-phobic attitudes (≥3.6) significantly decreased only within the intervention group over time (p ≤ 0.042). However, no significant differences between groups over time were observed for AFA scores or factors beliefs to cause obesity. Conclusions: A single exposure to an online education module on weight bias and knowledge about obesity may confer only a modest short-term improvement in medical center employees' fat-phobic attitudes toward people with obesity. Future studies should examine if reexposure to such intervention could impact weight bias, stigma, and discrimination among medical center staff in the long-term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-394
Number of pages11
JournalObesity Facts
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 21 May 2022

Keywords

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Obesity
  • Weight bias
  • Weight discrimination
  • Weight stigma

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