Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Overweight women find healthcare access and attitudes a constant struggle

23.10.2008
Women who are overweight and obese can find accessing healthcare difficult and stressful, according to research in the latest UK-based Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Researchers from Texas, USA, carried out in-depth interviews with women aged between 20 and 61, after recruiting them through local advertisements placed in community agencies and a regional newspaper.

“The participants in our study described the experience of seeking healthcare as a constant battle and struggle and were upset by the reactions of healthcare staff” says lead author Professor Emily Merrill from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

“They told us that they felt even more uncomfortable with specialists than with their own family doctors and nurse practitioners.”

Four themes emerged: struggling to fit in, feeling not quite human, being dismissed and refusing to give up.

Women talked about feeling shame and embarrassment because they did not fit into the normal healthcare environment because of their size and needed larger gowns, blood pressure cuffs, scales and chairs.

Elena told researchers that she had to wait half an hour to have her blood pressure taken, because the right equipment wasn’t available. She related how embarrassed she was while the nurse was running round the office saying: “We need the bigger cuff. She can’t fit the other.”

And Tammy’s bad experiences have made her plan ahead when she goes to a healthcare appointment. “I am to the point now where I will pretty much demand a larger fitting gown before the nurse even walks out of the room” she says.

Women also reported feeling less than human because of their size.

For example, the doctor delivering Doris’ son upset her with a tactless remark at a time when she feeling particularly vulnerable because of her size. “He said ‘Just relax and just envision yourself on a beach like a big ole whale beached.’ That hurt me so much because already I felt big.”

Tammy added that healthcare professionals didn’t seem to see her as a person. “When you look at me, see me as you would look at any other normal person with a condition” she said. “Don’t look at me as some huge overweight woman who needs your help.”

The women who took part in the study had all dieted and felt defeated by their weight and their failed attempts to control it.

Stella said that being overweight was the “worst thing in my life” and she longed to be a normal size. “It’s not something I think about one or two times a day. It’s something that is always, always there, from getting out of bed…” she told researchers.

Elena was cross that the doctors didn’t listen to what she said, that she didn’t eat fast food and drink sodas. “They don’t care. It’s like they are too busy to stop and listen” she said.

The women also talked about being dismissed by healthcare professionals.

Lynette was refused treatment for her arthritis by a chiropractor because of her weight. She told the researchers he “took one look at me and said ‘All you need to do is lose weight and that would solve all your problems’… He didn’t bother with X-rays or an examination or anything, so it was amazing to me that he could know that from just reading over the questionnaire and looking at me.”

And Kay’s doctor was unsympathetic about her high blood pressure and weight problem and told her to simply stop eating. She felt that he had treated her “so pathetically like I was nothing” that she changed doctors and found one who treated her with respect. “He respected me, so I think I was more inclined to listen to him and to do what he asked me to do” she said.

“The eight women we spoke to were stigmatized because they did not fit into the healthcare environment or the cultural expectation of being slim” says Professor Merrill, who carried out the research with Professor Jane Grassley from Texas Women’s University.

“It is vital that healthcare providers tackle the issues raised by overweight women as latest figures show that a third of women in the USA are obese. Research also shows that women may delay or avoid healthcare if providers have reacted negatively to them because of their weight.

“The women who took part in our study were determined to control their weight and improve their health despite many failed attempts. And they were keen to receive support and resources from healthcare professionals.”

The researchers say that nurses can play a crucial role in supporting women who are overweight and obese, especially in primary care, and that training should reflect the growing need for effective care in this area.

“Nurses should also use their influence to adopt measures in all practice settings to provide appropriate communications, space, furniture, equipment and supplies to create a respectful and welcoming environment for patients who are overweight” concludes Professor Merrill.

Annette Whibley | alfa
Further information:
http://www.journalofadvancednursing.com
http://interscience.wiley.com

Further reports about: Overweight blood pressure weight problem

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>