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Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000450756.10670.c2
College Publications

Committee Opinion No. 600: Ethical Issues in the Care of the Obese Woman

Committee Opinions List of Titles
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Abstract

ABSTRACT: Rates of obesity in the United States have increased rapidly over the past several decades, and physicians should be prepared to care for obese patients in a nonjudgmental manner, being cognizant of the medical, social, and ethical implications of obesity. It is the responsibility of the physician to recognize the medical risks that are associated with obesity and to counsel the patient regarding these risks in an unbiased manner, respecting her autonomy and maintaining her dignity. Classifying obesity as a medical condition can serve to reduce bias toward obese patients and to change the approach toward the patient from one of blame to one of caring. It is unethical for physicians to refuse to accept a patient or decline to continue care that is within their scope of practice solely because the patient is obese. However, if physicians lack the resources necessary for the safe and effective care of the obese patient, consultation or referral or both are appropriate. Obesity education that focuses on the specific medical, cultural, and social issues of the obese woman should be incorporated into physician education at all levels.

© 2014 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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