You Actually Don't Have to Get Weighed At Your Check-Ups: Here's Why, and How to Talk to Your Doctor

Why would someone choose not to be weighed at the doctor?


Research shows that those labeled as “obese” receive a lower quality of care—with additional biases experienced by LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people. Also, just wishing not to be weighed is enough of a reason because informed consent should be a thing in your doctor’s office and this is something that falls under informed consent.

Experts acknowledge that weight stigma extends beyond the doctor’s office and into the workplace and educational settings, among others, and have called for education to begin at both the healthcare and policy level with the goal of eventually eliminating the current weight bias. Furthermore, weight is a sign and symptom of a possible root cause it is not the condition or ailment. We are human beings, not objects, our bodies will fluctuate due to water, hormones, inflammation etc., so we won't always weight the same because of the numerous changes our bodies go through on a daily basis. When is it medically necessary to be weighed at a doctor’s appointment? There are a few times where a doctor may need to know a patient’s weight which includes: ~Infants & Young Children (not teens unless there is an issue) who need to gain weight to grow and develop ~Patients with severe eating disorders ~ Elderly patients with dementia who have a hard time remembering to eat ~Patients with heart or kidney disease that affects fluid retention ~Other health conditions that can cause sudden weight loss or gain (cancer and endocrine diseases come to mind). Being weighed at least once per year may be needed to make sure nothing else is going but doesn't need to occur every time! How can you set a boundary and decline being weighed by your doctor? Setting a boundary, whether you voice your concerns or carry a card can be draining and hard to do with those in authority especially if you are alone and navigating an illness. It's especially challenging for people with multiple marginalized identities and yes, being in a larger body in a fatphobic society counts as a marginalized identity. So it's crucial to find a physician that both values their patient's consent and is aware that the skewed power dynamics in healthcare settings make boundary setting very difficult for some. When making these boundaries remember consent does not cease to matter when you enter a physician's office. You always have the right to decline a procedure or any type of care you don't want such as being weighed! How to find a “Health At Every Size”-friendly doctor One way to help ensure that your boundary of not being weighed or not knowing your weight is honored... ASDAH- Association for Size Diversity and Health (website- https://asdah.org/health-at-every-size-haes-approach/) This organization is a resource to finding a HAES -friendly healthcare practitioners. Another option is asking the office staff if they are HAES - friendly in their approach but be on the watch even with those that say they are HAES-friendly. RED FLAG SIGNS for HAES- Friendly Healthcare

One way to help ensure that your boundary of not being weighed or not knowing your weight is honored... ASDAH- Association for Size Diversity and Health (website- https://asdah.org/health-at-every-size-haes-approach/) This organization is a resource to finding a HAES -friendly healthcare practitioners. Another option is asking the office staff if they are HAES - friendly in their approach but be on the watch even with those that say they are HAES-friendly.