Awkward Adiposity – Simulation Obesity Suits and Health Professional Perceptions

Caz secured funding for this research project through her University and Lesley’s University Department funded the purchase of a simulation obesity suit.

We know that there is a fair amount written around weight stigma and bias, and Rebecca Puhl and colleagues in the USA have been looking at health professional bias.

We wanted to find out if simulation obesity suits had a positive or negative effect on health professional attitudes and perceptions about people with obesity.  We started off looking at nurses, this then expanded to include other health professionals.

One thing that struck us was that whilst many health professionals expressed interest in the study, very few wanted to participate and wear the suit.  This prompted us to go back to the Ethics Committee so that we could interview those who had expressed interest and had decided not to wear the suit.

We are busy analyzing the data at the moment and the results will be presented at BMI 2017.

Research team: Dr Caz Hales, Lesley Gray, Dr Carol MacDonald, Dr Lynne Russell, Julie Howe.

This research received a University Research Fund/ Research Establishment Grant from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and funding for the simulation suit from the Department of Primary Health Care & General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington.  Essential Helpcare assisted with freight costs to bring the suit from the UK.