"Grossophobia" from healthcare providers, an obstacle to the management of obese patients

Some studies show that health professionals are less tolerant to obese patients. To this & # 39; grossofobie & # 39; to combat, initiatives are taken.

"Dear doctors, do not bother to give me lectures about my weight with any flu or angina that I come to consult you in. I already know you want me to lose weight" because of me ", you say, thanks, I'm me aware that I am fat and obese. "Posted on the Streepress website in 2017, this" Open letter from a big girl to the doctors "points to a reality that people with obesity are still too often confronted: the & # 39; grossophobia & # 39; from healthcare providers.

"The obese person always has the image of the greedy who indulges in a lonely pleasure, to a person who places himself outside the adult circuit in a regressive mode"

Dr. Bernard Waysfeld, psychiatrist and nutritionist

Although they need to be very caring and thoughtful, some health professionals are painful. "If this radiologist launches it to a patient:" You have both knees damaged by osteoarthritis but as we do not make a prosthesis for mammoths, we can not do anything for you ", says the Dr Vanessa Folope, Head and Medical Coordinator of the Obesity Specialty Center (CSO) Haute-Normandie.

Or this oncologist who had difficulty in dosing the oral chemotherapy of a patient with breast cancer because she had benefit from bariatric surgery, said: "It is your fault. If you were not obese, you would not have this bypass and would you probably did not have this cancer, "says Anne Sophie Joly, president of the National Collective of Obesity Associations.

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Less friendliness

Violent remarks that illustrate a reality indicated by scientific studies: doctors see their obese patients as less self-disciplined, less docile and more annoying than non-obesity, as recalled an article published in 2015 in the British Journal of Obesity. Moreover, their patience and desire to help patients decrease with their BMI …

"The obese person always has the image of the connoisseur who indulges in a lonely pleasure, to a person who places himself in a regressive mode outside the adult circuit", analyzes the Dr Bernard Waysfeld, psychiatrist and nutritionist, vice-chairman of the think tank on obesity and overweight. "And for many, just stop eating so the problem is solved," Anne-Sophie Joly overbood. A reductive vision. Because as the D recallsr Waysfeld, "weight is under the influence of the brain that always brings it back to the point of regulation, high in obese people."

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Defuse grossophobia

If the attempts of the diet are doomed to failure, it is because the causes of obesity are numerous and often multifactorial. "It is a pathology, with an important environmental component but also a great biological inequality, because in the same environment some become obese and others do not," recalls the Pr François Pattou, surgeon and head of CSO Lille.

"That was when I really understood what my patients were experiencing on a daily basis, suddenly all eyes, not necessarily benevolent, were focused on me"

Dr. Vanessa Folope, Head and Medical Coordinator of the Obesity Specialty Center (CSO) Haute-Normandie

To improve understanding of this pathology and to reduce gross phobia among healthcare professionals, health simulation centers in Rouen (medical training center in Rouen) and Lille offer care providers a combination that increases their building.

In a few minutes the students earn about thirty kilos and one meter waist. They then discover, the time of an afternoon, all the difficulties that are lived daily by an obese person. If you have difficulty putting on clothes and prefer the tracksuit, can not tie your shoes, can not reach certain parts of the body during washing, are out of breath as soon as you walk, avoid chairs with armrests … But especially everyone that slides into the skin of a person weighing 200 kg, discovers the eyes of others.

Vanessa Folope went to the hospital in Relais H after she had put on the suit. "And that was when I really understood what my patients were going through on a day-by day, all eyes, not necessarily benevolent, were focused on me," she says.

Being obese is & # 39; being huge & # 39; and constantly keep hiding in a mouse hole, as told by patients. And in fact, people with morbid obesity are hiding. The understanding of the judgment of others, and more specifically the caregivers, has negative consequences for their health. "Obese people have less use of the healthcare system," says Pr Pattou. The purpose of the training sessions taking place in Lille and Rouen is to create the conditions to lift their fears.

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