1st Edition

Weight Bias in Health Education Critical Perspectives for Pedagogy and Practice

Edited By Heather Brown, Nancy Ellis-Ordway Copyright 2022
    204 Pages
    by Routledge

    204 Pages
    by Routledge

    Weight stigma is so pervasive in our culture that it is often unnoticed, along with the harm that it causes. Health care is rife with anti-fat bias and discrimination against fat people, which compromises care and influences the training of new practitioners.

    This book explores how this happens and how we can change it. This interdisciplinary volume is grounded in a framework that challenges the dominant discourse that health in fat individuals must be improved through weight loss. The first part explores the negative impacts of bias, discrimination, and other harms by health care providers against fat individuals. The second part addresses how we can ‘fatten’ pedagogy for current and future health care providers, discussing how we can address anti-fat bias in education for health professionals and how alternative frameworks, such as Health at Every Size, can be successfully incorporated into training so that health outcomes for fat people improve.

    Examining what works and what fails in teaching health care providers to truly care for the health of fat individuals without further stigmatizing them or harming them, this book is for scholars and practitioners with an interest in fat studies and health education from a range of backgrounds, including medicine, nursing, social work, nutrition, physiotherapy, psychology, sociology, education and gender studies.

    Chapter 1- Introduction- Documented Harm: How a Misguided Paradigm Hurts Fat People (and Everybody Else)

    Heather A. Brown and Nancy Ellis‐Ordway

    Part I: When Healers Cause Harm

    Part introduction by Nancy Ellis‐Ordway

    Chapter 2- Deadweight: Unpacking Fat Shame in Psychotherapy

    Catherine Baker‐Pitts

    Chapter 3- Medical Equipment: The Manifestation of Anti‐Fat Bias in Medicine

    Fady Shanouda

    Chapter 4- "Limited By Body Habitus": Fat and Stigmatizing Rhetoric in Medical Records

    Jennifer Renee Blevins

    Chapter 5- "God forbid you bring a cupcake": Theorizing Biopedagogies as Professional Socialization in Dietetics Education

    Meredith Bessey and Jennifer Brady

    Chapter 6- A Textbook Case of Bias

    Virginia Dicken‐Gracen

    Chapter 7- Why Would I Want to Come Back? Weight Stigma and Noncompliance

    Nancy Ellis-Ordway

    Part 2: Fattening Pedagogy

    Part introduction by Heather A. Brown

    Chapter 8- Raising Awareness of Weight-Based Oppression in Health Care: Reflections on Lived Experience Education as Emotional Labor

    Sara Martel, Alex Andrews, Laura Griffin, Amanda Hollahan, Sonia Meerai, May Friedman, Christine Heidebrecht, Chelsea D’Silva, Dianne Fierheller, and Ian Zenlea

    Chapter 9- The Weight of Imaginative Resistance and Pedagogy for Narrative Transformation

    Elizabeth Lanphier and Hannah Cory

    Chapter 10- What Counts as Good or Bad Writing About Weight: Reflections of a Writing Coach

    Heather A. Brown

    Chapter 11- Clinical Revulsion: Combatting Weight Stigma by Confronting Provider Disgust

    Amanda Greene and Lisa Brownstone

    Chapter 12- Anti‐Fat Bias in Evidence Based Psychotherapies for Eating Disorders: Can They Be

    Adapted to Address the Harm?

    Rachel Millner and Lauren Muhlheim

    Chapter 13- Incorporating Fat Pedagogy into Health Care Training: Evidence‐Informed


    Alexandria Schmidt and Paula M. Brochu

    Chapter 14- Applying the Attribution‐Value Model of Prejudice to Fat Pedagogy in Health Care Settings

    Paula M. Brochu and Roya Amirniroumand

    Chapter 15- Conclusion: A Call to Fatten Pedagogy Because Lives Depend on It

    Heather A. Brown and Nancy Ellis‐Ordway


    Heather A. Brown is the Assistant Director of the University Writing Center at the A.T. Still University College of Graduate Health Studies. She earned an MTS from Harvard Divinity School and an EdD in Adult and Higher Education from Northern Illinois University. Her research is focused on the connections between weight and learning and how to promote academic achievement in fat women in postsecondary education.

    Nancy Ellis-Ordway is a psychotherapist in private practice in Jefferson City, Missouri, with 30 years' experience; she specializes in treating eating disorders, body image issues, stress, anxiety, depression, and relationship issues. She earned a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University and has a Ph.D. in Health Education and Promotion from the University of Missouri.   

    "The book feels simultaneously grounded in academic theory and research, alongside important reflections on the lived experiences of the contributors and people in their lives and work [...] This book would be a great resource to use in a variety of health education classes, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, to introduce weight bias and weight-inclusive care to students. Weight Bias in Health Education is quite readable and could be read throughout the semester, or assigned as individual chapters, as they also stand well on their own. Practicing health professionals would also benefit from reading this volume, as would healthcare educators who are new to the area but want to introduce these ideas into their classrooms."

    Meredith Bessey in Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society