Obesity Prejudice in Medical Community



Is obesity prejudice in medical community a real concern or is it paranoia on part of the obese patient?

Obesity regarding humans, refers to the condition of when the natural energy reserve that is stored as fat tissue exceeds the levels deemed normal for a specific height and weight. This is when excess fat influences the health of people who are considered obese. When a person carries extra body weight, they become more susceptible to suffering from a variety of different diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. It is suggested that obese individuals should change their lifestyle and behavioral habits to counteract negative effects on the body. This can be achieved through weight loss with the help of medication, dieting and exercise. Sometimes people resort to undergoing surgery in hopes of achieving their ideal body weight.



There are many stereotypes that obese individuals have to endure in today’s society. Many often associate gluttony with an overweight or obese person, ignoring the fact that sometimes individuals can be predisposed to gaining weight or suffer from conditions that make it hard to lose weight. A “fat” person is usually depicted in a variety of ways, ranging from comedic to self-loathing. Popular culture adds fuel to the fire when they encourage common, negative stereotypes. This can damage the self-esteem of some people battling obesity and also lead to discrimination based on how a person looks or weights.

Within the medical community, there are many controversies that stem from the views of medical professionals. There are many critics who wish to combat the medical view and emphasis that a slender physique means that a person is automatically healthy and that an obese person is automatically unhealthy. They wish to point out that it is the amount of physical activity that should identify a healthy body, stating that regardless of body weight; physically active people are healthier than those who lead a sedentary life.

Those who feel strongly about the subject of obesity, claim that when the medical community refers to obesity as a problem, they are sending a message filled with prejudice. Another prejudice that overweight people face when going to the doctors is the attitude that their weight is the cause of everything that is wrong with them. Some say that this is not an actual proven fact and it is wrong for a medical professional to automatically assume this attitude when dealing with obese patients. Also, when a doctor tells a person to lose weight so that they will obtain better health results, it doesn’t nessesarily mean that this goal will solve all of their problems.

There are many doctors who express a varied opinion when dealing with the topic of obesity. Some doctors take the view that it is the patient’s personal responsibility to lose to weight without needing the medical help of others, while other doctors take the stance that it should be a public interest case, where regulations should be imposed on obese individuals in the same manner that tobacco products received restrictions.

It has been a long journey in terms of recognizing that obesity is a damaging problem. It wasn’t until July 16, 2004, that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officially recognized obesity as a disease. This means that now, Medicare in the US will cover obesity-related health problems, allowing more people to get surgeries and medications that can help treat their problem. The catch with this decision is if the method proved not to work, then the patient would not receive reimbursement.


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