Thursday, July 16, 2009

Too Fat for Surgeon General Position??


By all accounts Surgeon General nominee Dr. Regina Benjamin is an extraordinary woman. She is an African-American family doctor who has spent most of her professional life serving the people of Bayou La Batre, a poor rural Alabama coastal community. She makes house calls, pays for patients’ medicines, works for free when there is no money. She’s had heaps of honors poured on her head , including a MacArthur genius award. She rebuilt her clinic twice, once following Hurricane Katrina and then a year later when it was destroyed by a fire.

She is an active Catholic and, if her office nurse is to be believed, she is one of the more than 90 percent of Catholics who have no problem with birth control. (I have rarely met a devout Catholic working with poor people who is not an advocate of safe and effective contraception — from nuns in Chile to priests in the Philippines. They get that having children you cannot afford degrades the soul perhaps even more than the body.) This, then, is a near-perfect public face for a president embarking on a controversial last-ditch effort to fix our health care system and serve the poor.

The only problem seems to be that some people think the face is too fat.

From her photos, it appears that Dr. Benjamin will need a generous size 18 military uniform. The anti-fat brigade has been arguing in various online comments sections about her BMI and whether or not the term obese applies. These chattering masses wonder if a country plagued by obesity should have an above average-weight woman speaking to public health.
I'm not sure I have an opinion on this story... Let's see what the blogospere has to say...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know what she has to say about it. Perhaps she has a thyroid problem or some other reason to be that size that she cannot help. I always wonder about doctors or others in the health industry who are overweight according to their own standards and yet they tell others to loose weight or same thing with doctors/nurses who smoke. I think that used to be more common a while back but point is I don't want to be told to do something for my own good by someone who won't do it themselves. And until we hear the reason from her (I wonder if we will, we'll see) I'll just wait on forming an opinion on her.