Friday, July 31, 2009

Dr. Regina Benjamin, Surgeon General Nominee, Receives Criticism For Her Weight

The Surgeon General is "the leading spokesperson on matters of public health in the federal government," and is responsible for "educating the American public about health issues and advocating healthy lifestyle choices."1

I often wonder if, or how much, consumers of healthcare are critical of their healthcare providers. This gives me a clue.
1 Wikipedia: Surgeon General of the United States


virginia said...

i never expected to agree with a fox news anchor.

chill out, no chubbies.

Bix said...

I think No Chubbies is a bit over-the-top. Dr. Benjamin is highly credentialed. But it raises a valid question ... How much should a spokesperson for the nation's health embody health?

Do you find a physician or other healthcare provider more credible if they appear to be in good health? Or doesn't it matter. This is a question raised often in my work.

Ruby said...

This does matter to me on some level. I wouldn't say it makes them seem more credible, exactly, but I do think it puts them more in line with my values.

virginia said...

my physicians are active, and appear healthy...i chose them because they were recommended. a dietitian, i might have a different viewpoint.

dr. benjamin...i'm guessing she knows the rules, and doesn't have time to follow them. she would need a personal chef and trainer to get her on track, and more sleep.

perhaps this drove her to the comfort of food, and left no time for the cross-trainer:

Benjamin's clinic was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina and in 2006 by a fire on New Year's Day, one day before the scheduled reopening. She made headlines when she rebuilt the clinic a second time. (wiki)

Dr. Mel said...

Interesting contextualization, Virginia. I haven't thought about the health of doctors in a while, but I used to know (or know of) docs who smoked & were overweight, and it put me off enough that I would never have thought of going to them.

Dr. Mel said...

However, after watching that video clip, I must say that there's an element of racism/sexism (esp. calling her "lazy"!) in Mr. Bodybuilder's comments. I don't think the same would be said of a white man in a similar position. But that's Fox News for you.

Anrosh said...

"appear to be healthy". you can eat right all you want, but sometimes genes overrule.

if your metabolism is optimally active, you can eat all you want and still look "slim".

i have heard many incidents when runners die of heart attack -- why ? they are pretty healthy.

One also needs to breathe correctly. Many do not breathe fully, hence carry the weight, it is not because they are unhealthy.

i know a world class badminton player who used to stay in my apartment building. she runs at 6.5 or 7 for 4 miles 5 days a week. And is very active. she steams her vegetabls and is super slim - toned and all - but she has very high cholesterol and has to take tablets to keep it under control

i take it with pinch of salt about the over media hype that all slim people are healthy! and all thin people are malnourished.


Ronald said...

I think the healthiest people are around 225 lbs, and bald, and also the most attractive.

Dr. Mel said...

My hub would agree with Ronald!

Ruby said...

As someone who spends 40-50 minutes every morning fighting my genetics, I understand.

I don't begrudge people for not making the same choices (though it mystifies me that some people in my family have not, considering the fate that has befallen the previous generation). But when it comes to choosing a doctor, first I want a good doctor. But I admit to also making a judgment about their physical appearance and/or habits. I wouldn't go to a hairdresser whose style I don't like, either. I want a doctor whose lifestyle shows that they put their money where their mouth is when it comes to prevention. I don't want a doctor to advise me to just take a pill if there were other measures I could try first.

It might be a wrong assumption for me to make, but as consumers we have such little information to go on to judge doctors anyway. If they don't make their philosophy known to me, I'm just going to have to fill in the blanks on my own. I guess I should feel bad about this, but honestly I don't.

Bix said...

Ruby said:
"I want a doctor whose lifestyle shows that they put their money where their mouth is when it comes to prevention."

Even though I think there are lots of factors influencing obesity, I don't discount personal effort.

I once worked in a health and fitness unit associated with a hospital. The exercise physiology group worked from a room that smelled of stale hoagies.