How does physician BMI impact patient trust and perceived stigma?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The objective is to evaluate whether physician body mass index (BMI) impacts their patients' trust or perceptions of weight-related stigma. Methods: We used a national cross-sectional survey of 600 non-pregnant overweight and obese patients conducted between April 5 and April 13, 2012. The outcome variables were patient trust (overall and by type of advice) and patient perceptions of weight-related stigma. The independent variable of interest was primary care physician (PCP) BMI. We conducted multivariate regression analyses to determine whether trust or perceived stigma differed by physician BMI, adjusting for covariates. Results: Patients reported high levels of trust in their PCPs, regardless of the PCPs body weight (normal BMI = 8.6; overweight = 8.3; obese = 8.2; where 10 is the highest). Trust in diet advice was significantly higher among patients seeing overweight PCPs as compared to normal BMI PCPs (87% vs. 77%, p = 0.04). Reports of feeling judged by their PCP were significantly higher among patients seeing obese PCPs (32%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 23-41) as compared to patients seeing normal BMI PCPs (14%; 95% CI: 7-20). Conclusion: Overweight and obese patients generally trust their PCP, but they more strongly trust diet advice from overweight PCPs as compared to normal BMI PCPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-124
Number of pages5
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Patient trust
  • Physician BMI
  • Weight stigma
  • Weight-related advice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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