Overweight women struggle with healthcare

LUBBOCK, Texas (UPI) — Women who are overweight or obese find accessing healthcare difficult and stressful, Texas researchers said.

Researchers at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center conducted in-depth interviews with women ages 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,” lead author Emily Merrill said in a statement. “They told us that they felt even more uncomfortable with specialists than with their own family doctors and nurse practitioners.”

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

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

The findings, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, said a doctor delivering a baby told one woman: “Just relax and just envision yourself on a beach like a big ole whale beached.”

The women who took part in the study had all dieted and felt defeated by their weight, their failed attempts to control their weight and being dismissed by healthcare professionals.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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