In the course of the past week I saw two good articles about fat people and health.
The first pertains to a doctor denying to take a woman on as a patient because she’s fat.
The second is about the “thin paradox”: how thin people get diseases that only fat people are supposed to get.
Now, in regards to the first article, I’ve never been told by a doctor that they can’t treat me because I’m fat. But I know that it happens and I’m not surprised by it. The disdain for fat people is palpable beyond the mall and fast food joints. I’m taking up too much space with my rolls and it disgusts people no matter where I go. I’m not surprised that it disgusts doctors, too. After all, they are people. Worse, they’re people with years of medical training that has educated them to believe that fat, any and all fat, is bad.
Which leads me to the second article. If you’re fat and you do find a doctor willing to see you, then the automatic cure for whatever it is that ails you is to lose weight. High cholesterol? Lose weight. High blood pressure? Lose weight. Painful menstrual cramps? Lose weight. Sinus trouble? Lose weight.
If you’re thin and you have these problems…I guess you get actual treatment? Because if you’re thin then you must be really sick. If you’re fat…well…you’re just fat and that’s the cause of all your trouble.
So, let’s review…
If you’re fat, you don’t necessarily deserve a doctor’s care because if you’re fat then you clearly don’t care about your health and would just be wasting the doctor’s time. But if you want a doctor to see you then you should lose weight first, then you’ll be worth the appointment. If you can find a doctor with reinforced tables and whale scales and Paul Bunyon blood pressure cuffs and whatever else it is that doctors think they need to treat fat people, then whatever your complaint is can be cured if you lose weight.
Gee, fat people. I guess we can save a whole lot of money and cut out the middle man if we just lose weight.
Reasonable, right? Sure.
I know of someone who is a size zero, doesn’t exercise, and makes mention of eating once or twice a day and that consumption might be a candy bar or a cupcake or a diet Coke and some pretzels. Meanwhile, I’m a size 20/22, exercise five days a week (most weeks), and make a conscious effort to make my meals somewhat healthy in both content and portion size and number. However, based on the two articles I linked to a doctor would be more likely to see her and more likely to treat her better because she’s thin.
Doctor’s perpetuating the myth that thin=healthy is a huge disservice to the masses (pun intended). Fat people are being led to believe that weight loss will cure everything and thin people are being led to believe that they can’t possibly be unhealthy. It’s criminal bullshit, really.
With all of that said, I’ve never had any of this happen to me. I’ve never had a doctor refuse me because I was fat. The only doctor I’ve had that discussed weight loss with me was the plastic surgeon that did my breast reduction surgery. He asked if I tried to lose weight to reduce my breast size. I wasn’t insulted by it. He wanted to make sure I’d explored other options before surgery. (FYI: I did try to lose weight to reduce my breast size. I lost twenty pounds. None of it came off of my chest. When I gained it back, it went to the boobs.)
Granted, I don’t have a lot of doctor experiences in my adult life. Not because my fat keeps me from going, though. For me it’s usually lack of insurance/short on money/I don’t go unless something is hanging off by a thread because I’m pretty sure it’ll be fine in a day or two even if it is the plague that keeps me from going to the doctor.
But that’s another story.
The point is I’ve never personally been doomed to ill-health by a doctor that refused to treat me because I’m fat or by a doctor that thinks weight-loss will cure whatever ails me, and I don’t think anyone else should be either.
Fat doesn’t make people unhealthy. Doctors that don’t take fat people seriously do.