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Attitudes toward obese persons and controllability beliefs: clarifying previously reported data

To the editor: Very recently, Gujral et al. [1] reported data representative of attitudes toward obese persons and beliefs about the controllability of obesity in a sample of nurses from 2 hospitals (1 that offered bariatric sensitivity training and 1 that did not). The authors used the Attitudes Towards Obese Persons (ATOP) and Beliefs About Obese Persons (BAOP) scales [2] , which have a score range of 0–120 and 0–48, respectively. The ATOP measures both positive and negative attitudes about obese persons, and the BAOP measures beliefs about the controllability of obesity, with greater scores for both scales representative of a more positive response.</P>However, the scores that appear in the abstract, main text, and 3 tables are incorrectly reported, which has consequently affected the discussion of these results. The mean scores of 18.0 and 16.1 for the ATOP and 67.1 and 67.1 for the BAOP are reported for hospitals 1 and 2, respectively, where it would appear that the data reported as being obtained from the ATOP seemed to be those from the BAOP and vice versa. This incorrect reporting was the only rational explanation for these mean scores, because those reported for the ATOP would deviate substantially from any previously acknowledged, which are typically between 55 and 70. For example, Puhl and Brownell [3] reported a mean score of 59.7. Furthermore, the BAOP mean scores were outside the scale range (0–48). On the basis of the findings reported, the authors have proceeded to draw inaccurate conclusions, summarizing that the attitudes toward obese persons measured using the ATOP were significantly greater in hospital 1 than hospital 2 and that no difference was observed in the relation to the BAOP. However, the conclusions that should have been drawn are that the beliefs about the controllability of obesity measured using the BAOP were significantly greater in hospital 1 than 2, and no difference was observed for the ATOP.</P>The concern raised regarding this article is not to question the integrity of the authors or of the research itself, but of the data presented and where the reviewers have failed to identify this mistaken reporting. Additionally, Gujral et al. [1] acknowledged the scale development report by Allison et al. [2] , suggesting that their interpretation of the use of these scales is incorrect, rather than this issue reflecting any data input error. Finally, this study used a combined sample of 266 nurses from the 2 hospitals; however, from the title, it would appear that only 1 nurse had been sampled, again reflecting the lack of thoroughness in the review process. In summary, the findings of Gujral et al. [1] are incorrectly reported and amendments to the results and interpretation of these data are required, given that this study would be a worthwhile contribution to the published data.</P> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases Elsevier
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