ObesityWeek: Racial Differences in Perceived Discrimination in People with Obesity

WeightControl.com Interview with:
Marianne Olaniran, DrPH(c), MS, MPH
Doctoral student
The University of Texas Health Science Center
at Houston School of Public Health

Jaime Almandoz, MD, MBA, FTOS (he/him)
Medical Director, Weight Wellness Program
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
Division of Endocrinology
Internal Medicine Subspecialties Clinic
UTSouthwestern Medical Center
Dallas, TX

WeightControl.com:  What is the background for this study? 

Ms. Olaniran: The study focused on experiences of discrimination among people with obesity (PWO), based on their characteristics including body size, race/ethnicity, and sex. Discrimination against individuals and groups remains prevalent in the United States. Studies show that perceived discrimination negatively impacts physical and mental health, but how it impacts diverse PWO is not well understood. This study assessed race/ethnic group and sex differences in perceptions of discrimination among people with obesity .

WeightControl.com:   What are the main findings?

Ms. Olaniran: The main findings of the study were that major and every day reported experiences of discrimination were significantly higher in non-Hispanic Black (NHB) people with obesity compared to other race/ethnic groups, with men and women experiencing discrimination equally.

WeightControl.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Ms. Olaniran: Readers should be aware of the serious impacts of perceived discrimination among people with obesity , especially among NHB PWO who are disproportionately burdened. Perceived discrimination increases the risk of various severe chronic health conditions and premature death.

WeightControl.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Ms. Olaniran: We recommend that future research utilize larger sample sizes to further explore race/ethnic group and sex differences in perceived discrimination among people with obesity . This information would be beneficial for incorporating discrimination experiences into obesity care models which may be an important step to improve health outcomes.

WeightControl.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?

Response: Perceived discrimination is a serious public health issue that contributes to the obesity epidemic, through stress-related behavioral, physical, and psychological changes that adversely impact health outcomes and health-related quality of life. Consequently, future studies should seek to further understand how it impacts diverse PWO to help improve obesity treatment models.
No disclosures.

Dr. Almandoz‘s comments: People with obesity, particularly those from racial and ethnic minority groups like non-Hispanic Black individuals, face a unique set of challenges rooted in both weight bias and racial bias that can result in compounded discrimination. The discrimination that these individuals may encounter can unfortunately be associated with maladaptive health behaviors, avoidance of healthcare and adverse health outcomes, which makes it essential to address both weight and race-related biases in efforts to promote equity and inclusivity among people with obesity.

Ms. Olaniran: No disclosures.

Dr. Almandoz: None of my disclosures are relevant to this research but I serve as a paid advisor/consultant for Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Citation: ObesityWeek 2023 Abstract

Olaniran MO, Kapti EG, Mathew MS, Schellinger JN, Messiah SE, Almandoz JP. Race, Ethnic, and Sex Differences in Perceived Discrimination Among Patients with Obesity. Accepted as a poster presentation to ObesityWeek®,
October 14-17, 2023, Dallas, TX


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Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by weightcontrol