Date of Publication


Degree Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Susan Lowey, PhD, RN, CHPN, Assistant Professor, Nursing


The purpose of this study was to determine (a) if personal characteristics of nursing students may be significant in potentiating stigma against obese persons (b) if an educational presentation discussing healthcare bias against people affected by obesity and the multi-causal nature of obesity could be useful in improving knowledge about potential barriers and better methods of treatment. A mixed method approach was used for data collection. After the intervention, participants filled out a survey that obtained demographic data, data about attitudes towards obese persons in the form of a Likert scale, and data about knowledge learned in the presentation in the form of open ended short answer questions. The results of the study found that the students regardless of demographic disagreed least with the idea that anyone can lose weight if they simply try harder. It was observed that nearly all participants were surprised with the information presented regarding barriers to weight loss or with prevalence of stigma in healthcare; although all had reported that they had witnessed weight discrimination in a healthcare setting. Recommendations for future research include developing studies involving more students from a larger range of nursing programs. Recommendations for practice include creating a more holistic education on obesity to improve knowledge and awareness on the multifactorial nature of obesity to improve patient care and global health.

Included in

Nursing Commons