The Weighty Burden of Inequity Experienced by Patients in Larger Bodies: Fostering Equitable Treatment in the Naturopathic Community
Individuals identified as overweight or obese (people in larger bodies) often endure poor health equity as a result of pervasive stigmatization and discrimination due to their weight, in both social and healthcare settings. Often referred to as 'weight bias', people in larger bodies are differentially, and inequitably, treated specifically due to their weight. This inequitable treatment results in deleterious health effects, such as poorer mental health, increased risk of mortality, avoidance to seek care, social isolation, and disadvantageous physiologic changes (e.g. elevated C-reactive protein). In an effort to foster equitable, inclusive, and fair treatment of all patient groups accessing naturopathic care, this critical reflection and narrative literature review was undertaken in order to explore important considerations specifically for people in larger bodies. Further, it may serve as a guide for naturopathic doctors (NDs) to appreciate the sensitivity of terminology, the complexity of weight-related research, the caution that must be taken with social media use and the unintentional, but likely, harms of hyperfocusing on weight. A call for actionable changes is relayed in order to provide the ND community with tangible and achievable goals to consciously work towards in order to foster equitable care and treatment of all patients, regardless of body size.
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