Does Self-Evaluation and Education in Students Change Attitudes and Beliefs Towards Weight Stigma?
Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose of this study is to measure weight bias in the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) students. Elicit change in obesity stigma in DPT students by way of self-evaluation while enrolled in a course Aspects of Health Promotion (AHP). Number of Subjects: 60 Materials and Methods: Blood Tests, Lifestyle journal and Nutritional, Exercise and Weight Management Scale Survey Results: Correlation between NEW Attitudes Scale score and lipid profile revealed students with triglyceride levels > 150 mg/dL showed no significant improvement in their attitudes on weight stigma. In contrast, students with triglyceride levels < 150 mg/dL, showed a significant change of improved score in their attitudes and beliefs on weight stigma P = .000. Measuring HbA1c, hs-CRP, and HDL levels in students, all showed a significant change of improved score at six months. Barriers to lifestyle change identified by the DPT students ranked highest barriers to least barriers as time management (60%), motivation (28%), illness/pain (10%) and media (3%) respectively. Total cohort attitudes and beliefs showed a significant change in improved scores from baseline to 12 months, which included the AHP course and their clinical affiliation. Conclusions: Healthier lipid panel, as well as hs-CRP and HbA1c related in improved attitudes and beliefs. Barriers to lifestyle changes associated with patients with type 2 diabetes, cancer, and senior citizens. Recommendations are to encourage a healthy lifestyle while students are in graduate work preparing to enter the health care field to lower negative bias towards the overweight and obese population. Clinical Relevance: Decreasing stigma could improve quality of care. Academic Relevance: Encouraging healthy lifestyle in physical therapy students to decrease obesity stigma.