Evaluation of a Pilot Program to Increase Healthcare Professionals Awareness of Weight Bias: A Doctor of Nursing Practice Project

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0003-3489-0577
Williams, Habibah, Nursing Practice - School of Nursing, University of Virginia
Hundt, Elizabeth, NR-Nursing: Faculty, University of Virginia

Weight bias and stigma are factors that impact obesity. Many healthcare professionals (HCPs) may be unaware of their biases regarding obesity, leading to poor provider-patient communication and decreased health maintenance appointments. This project evaluated the outcomes of We Matter, a multi-modal, virtual pilot educational program designed to increase HCPs awareness of the effects of weight bias and stigma, utilizing the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) as a theoretical framework. The study design was a one-group pre-test/post-test performed on a convenience sample of HCPs from two university student health centers. Ten participants completed the seven-week program. For seven weeks, participants received an email with a link to a survey every week. Participants received information on weight bias and answered questions to assess participation. Participants rated their level of weight bias awareness using a Likert like scale pre-intervention and post-intervention. A Related-Samples Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test was conducted to compare the level of awareness of weight bias and stigma before and after the intervention. There were no significant differences seen in awareness scores, Z = -1.613, p = .107. Despite not having statistical significance, We Matter increased 60% of the participant's awareness scores. Raising awareness of the harmful repercussions of weight bias and stigma is vital. HCPs should lead efforts to mitigate weight bias and stigma.

DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
Weight Bias, Weight Stigma, Obesity
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