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

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

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Division of Nutritional Sciences, School of Biosciences, The University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, UK.



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.


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.


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.


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.

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