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Chapter 4: Clinic Layout & Environment

Is your clinic a comfortable, welcoming place for clients affected by excess weight?  Research indicates that 46 percent of women affected by excess weight say that small gowns, narrow exam tables and inappropriately sized medical equipment were barriers to receiving healthcare. [1]

Following the suggestions in this chapter can help you to create a environment that is welcoming to patients of all sizes. [2]

Waiting Room

  • Furniture that can support more than 300 pounds
  • Armless chairs and 6–8 inches of space between chairs 
  • Weight-sensitive reading materials
  • Doors and hallways that can accommodate large size wheelchairs, walkers, scooters
  • Bathrooms with split lavatory seat with handled urine specimen collector

Exam Room

  • Stepstool with handle for exam table access
  • Large size gowns
  • Large and extra large adult and thigh blood pressure cusps
  • Long vaginal specula
  • Wide examination tables, bolted to the ?oor
  • Hydraulic tilt tables, if possible
  • Sturdy armless chairs


  • Wide based scale that measures > 350 pounds
  • Wide platform with handles for support during weighing
  • Accessible for patients with disabilities
  • Situated in a physical location that offers privacy and con?dentiality

Finding Appropriate Equipment

For a list of companies selling appropriately-sized medical equipment for obese patients, visit this link


[1] Obesity Action Coalition. (2013). Understanding Obesity Stigma [Brochure]. Tampa, FL: Obesity Action Coaltion
[2] Office Environment Strategies to Reduce Weight Bias. (n.d.). In Preventing Weight Bias. Retrieved from online.
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