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Obesity and Healthcare Avoidance: A Systematic Review

1 South West Pathology Service, Albury, NSW, 2640, Australia;
2 School of Biomedical Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2678, Australia

Special Issues: Obesity and Food Intake in Vulnerable Populations

This review addresses the issue of health care avoidance and obesity. English language journal articles published between 1990 and 2012 that addressed the review question|“is being overweight or obese an unrecognized factor in healthcare avoidance?” were located using major databases. A modified JADAD scoring system was then used to assess papers. Ten papers were identified which directly addressed the review question. A positive relationship exists between obesity and healthcare avoidance. The major contributory factors were being female, have a diagnosed mental health problem and perceived or actual bias and discrimination by health professionals. The review also highlights the importance of the relationship between healthcare professionals and their patients, and the physical environment in which interactions occur as these may contribute to avoidance behaviors. Concern about obesity is rising and while there has been much discussion about strategies to reduce obesity this review highlights the need for thinking more broadly about the way in which overweight and obese individuals interact with preventative health strategies.
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