Assessment of Weight Bias Among Pediatric Nurses and Clinical Support Staff Toward Obese Patients and Their Caregivers

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18 Scopus citations


The increasing burden of obesity is prevalent in the pediatric populations. Pediatric nurses are spending increasing amounts of time and effort caring for obese patients however no prior studies have explored how nurses perceive obese patients. The purpose of this study is to identify weight bias in pediatric nurses (RNs) and clinical support staff (CSS) working in a pediatric hospital setting. A convenience sample of RNs and CSS from an urban, pediatric hospital were surveyed using the Nurses' Attitudes toward Obesity and Obese Patients Scale (NATOOPS), which consists of 6 patient-care factors with an additional factor added to assess bias towards the patient's caregiver. Mean factor scores ≥. 50 indicated bias. Data were summarized using descriptive statistics and means were compared using independent t tests. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to determine the association between putative risk factors and weight bias. RNs and CSS (N = 308) demonstrated weight bias toward obese patient characteristics (mean = 61.9) and perceived controllability of obesity (mean = 65.8). CSS felt negatively about their supportive roles in caring for obese patients (mean = 52.5). Respondent weight status and professional title resulted in variability of biased attitudes. Race, employment status, number of obese patients cared for daily, and department were predictive of biased attitudes. Weight biased attitudes toward obese pediatric patients and their caregivers were found among RNs and CSS. Future qualitative research will assist in the understanding the factors that cause nurse weight bias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e244-e251
JournalJournal of pediatric nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Body mass index
  • Obesity
  • Pediatrics
  • Weight bias
  • Weight status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics


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