Stigma towards Bariatric Surgery: Prevalence and impact in the Netherlands, France, and England

Bariatric surgery is an increasing used method to battle obesity and obesity related comorbidities. However, like obesity, bariatric surgery is highly stigmatized with patients being viewed as lazy, cheaters, and taking the easy way out. Negative attitudes towards bariatric surgery are held by both the general public and healthcare professionals and may discourage people with obesity from considering the surgery or impact well-being and everyday life post-surgery.

Project aims
This explores the perceptions, experiences and consequences of Bariatric Surgery from the perspective of individuals with obesity who are considering surgery, post bariatric surgery patients, the general public and healthcare professionals. The study also explores the extent to which this stigma is context and culture-dependent by comparing three European countries, the Netherlands, France, & England. Despite these countries being geographically and socioeconomically close, their approaches to tackle obesity differ significantly.

The objectives of the project
1. To determine the current knowledge on stigma towards Bariatric Surgery from the perspective of (pre) bariatric surgery patients and identify possible knowledge gaps.
2. To determine the prevalence of bariatric surgery stigma in the general population and among healthcare professionals.
3. To explore stigma as a barrier for access and utilization of bariatric surgery from the perspective of individuals with obesity and healthcare professionals.
4. To explore the experiences and consequences of bariatric surgery stigma from the perspective of BS patients using a socioecological approach.
5. To asses to what extent bariatric surgery stigma is context and culture dependent.

The project uses a convergent mixed-methods research design to collect, analyses and interpret the data.