Practitioners can avoid bias against overweight clients in the following ways, according to University of Akron doctoral students and weight researchers Deb Esty, Sally Diegelman and Claudia Sadler Gerhardt:
Don't make assumptions about overweight clients, such as about whether they have an eating disorder or are working toward acceptance of their weight.
Display size-friendly artwork or magazines--such as BBW Magazine--in your office or lounge.
Have seating in your office that can accommodate larger people. An example is armless chairs.
Raise your colleagues' and students' awareness by addressing these issues in formal and informal ways, such as during clinical supervision or in workshops.
Ask larger clients about eating behaviors in the same way you would ask a thin or average-sized person.
Through self-questioning and introspection, become aware of your own level of prejudice toward overweight people.
Educate yourself on issues that affect overweight people, such as the genetic influences of size and the effects of dieting on physical and mental health.
Understand that an overweight person's problems are not always a result of their weight and that therapy does not bring thinness. Be aware that resolving life issues also does not necessarily result in weight loss.