Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Nursing (BSN)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Amber Derksen, Ph.D., RN, CNE


The National Institutes of Health identifies that one in three adults is obese. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above. Patients with obesity may deny themselves healthcare due to the mistreatment and mistrust they may develop within the healthcare system. If the prejudice against obese patients is addressed, it could prevent future issues for patients and healthcare providers. Not only can bias against obese patients lead to injury, but it can also lead worsening conditions. When a patient perceives the stigma of a weight bias from a caregiver, it can cause them to withdraw their trust that may develop towards depression, or anxiety about their medical condition. There are three types of biases that are defined as implicit, overt, and covert. Identifying obesity biases is the subject of this study. Obesity bias is an increasing concern in the healthcare system. As professional health care providers it is the Registered Nurse’s (RN) duty to ensure that all patients are treated with utmost respect and care. Ensuring that all patients including obese patients are cared for can provide for increased positive healthcare outcomes. Nursing students are not resistant to obesity-related biases. The objective of this study was to review the negative perceptions that nursing students may hold against obese patients. An obesity bias study was conducted utilizing an online survey to evaluate a South East Georgia School of Nursing (SEGSON) Bachelor level students. The results from 200 students conveyed only a slight increase in obesity biases.

Included in

Nursing Commons