Are anti-stigma films a useful strategy for reducing weight bias among trainee healthcare professionals? Results of a pilot randomized control trial

Obes Facts. 2013;6(1):91-102. doi: 10.1159/000348714. Epub 2013 Mar 2.


Background: Weight bias is an important clinical issue that the educators of tomorrow's healthcare professionals cannot afford to ignore. This study, therefore, aimed to pilot a randomized controlled trial of the effects of educational films designed to reduce weight stigmatization toward obese patients on trainee dietitians' and doctors' attitudes.

Methods: A pre-post experimental design with a 6-week follow-up, which consisted of an intervention group (n = 22) and a control group (n = 21), was conducted to assess the efficacy of brief anti-stigma films in reducing weight bias, and to test whether future, larger-scale studies among trainee healthcare professionals are feasible.

Results: Participants at baseline demonstrated weight bias, on both implicit and explicit attitude measures, as well as strong beliefs that obesity is under a person's control. The intervention films significantly improved explicit attitudes and beliefs toward obese people, and participant evaluation was very positive. The intervention did not significantly improve implicit anti-fat bias.

Conclusion: The current study suggests both that it is possible to conduct a substantive trial of the effects of educational films designed to reduce weight stigma on a larger cohort of trainee healthcare professionals, and that brief educational interventions may be effective in reducing stigmatizing attitudes in this population.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Culture
  • Dietetics / education*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Pictures*
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prejudice*
  • Stereotyping*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult