When we think of body-shaming, what might come to mind is the way that people with different body types are called out on social media. Both men and women face public attacks on their bodies, and it鈥檚 terrible. Now another, much more private arena for fat-shaming is causing some health professionals to speak out: the doctor鈥檚 office.

Dr. Joan Chrisler, a professor at Connecticut College, brought up the issue of fat-shaming by physicians at a symposium during this week鈥檚 American Psychological Association conference. In her talk, Dr. Chrisler explained the way that concern trolling in the doctor鈥檚 office creates a cycle where a person鈥檚 size takes precedence over their actual health concern. For example, doctors will often refuse to treat the symptoms of an injury or illness until a patient loses weight and the number on the scale goes down considerably. This behavior by doctors has MAJOR negative health repercussions for patients.

鈥淒isrespectful treatment and medical fat-shaming, in an attempt to motivate people to change their behavior, is stressful and can cause patients to delay health care seeking or avoid interacting with providers,鈥 said Dr. Chrisler at the symposium.

Chrisler argues that providing different-sized people with different treatments for the same diseases and illnesses is also technically a form of malpractice. By assuming that weight is the main culprit for a plus-sized patient鈥檚 symptoms, doctors might choose to skip necessary screening procedures like CAT scans or blood work. This could lead to misdiagnosis, with potentially serious and even fatal consequences.

Oh, and another thing: It isn鈥檛 effective in actually helping overweight people to slim down.

In a study published earlier this year by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, researchers wanted to know whether people鈥檚 own personal weight bias affected their overall health and treatment and if these people (categorized as medically obese) had a medical condition to blame for their size, making size bias all the more hurtful.

Using a questionnaire given to the participants to track their mental health and personal feelings on their bodies, as well as blood work and other medical tests, the researchers determined that many of the participants had what is called 鈥渕etabolic syndrome.鈥 This means there were physical reasons for their obesity, and that 2/3 of the people who had depressive episodes or low self-worth also had medical reasons to account for their size.

鈥淗ealth care providers, the media, and the general public should be aware that blaming and shaming patients with obesity is not an effective tool for promoting weight loss, and it may, in fact, contribute to poor health if patients internalize these prejudicial messages,鈥 the study鈥檚 co-author, Tom Wadden, PhD, told Science Daily.

With evidence that suggests that fat-shaming is harmful to the health of millions of people due to its cyclical nature, another of the symposium鈥檚 presenters, Dr. Maureen McHugh, said, 鈥淩esearch demonstrates that weight stigma leads to psychological stress, which can lead to poor physical and psychological health outcomes for obese people.鈥

Have you ever been shamed at the doctor? Tell us how you responded @BritandCo.

(h/t Refinery29; photo via Getty)