Dr. Toby Cosgrove of the Cleveland clinic has apologized for making remarks that he would fire or not hire fat people. However even though Dr. Cosgrove might have realized he overstepped his bounds, this doesn't make him size friendly, nor will he stop pushing weight loss as the key to good health.
Meanwhile Jon Stewart made an ass of himself wearing a fat suit on the Daily Show. Apparently if you eat cheese steaks and shakes for three weeks you can double your body weight. You also give yourself diabetes. I am really tired of fat suits and jokes. The jokes are old and have run their course. Fat jokes are lame and low-brow. Daily Show has much more high-brow humor and this has put a damper on the show. Sorry Jon, you lost me as a true believer fan. I'm not the only one. In times like this when we have to fight to get better health insurance, the last thing we need is blaming people instead of getting the health care they need! Health insurance companies would love to hear people blame fatties instead of themselves. I haven't yet found direct email for Jon Stewart, but please post in the Daily Show forum that this is "humor" we don't really need.
You can also contact them by snail mail:
Comedy Central Studios
The Daily Show
513 W 54 St
New York, NY 10019
Also apparently Bill Maher criticized nominee Regina Benjamin for her size. I don't have any details yet. Thank you anonymous poster for providing me the link to Bill Maher's hateful rant. Bill, I never really thought you were funny. Jon Stewart is funny which is why his wearing a fat suit was more hurtful that your ignorant comments. Even if the obesity stats are right and we are spending 10% of health care costs on it, that still leaves 90%. What's the 90% from? Some can be from smoking but it's most likely the cost of taking care of an aging population. We are getting fatter AND living longer but the longer we live the more it costs. There are plenty of things to make fun of the teabaggers about but being fat isn't one of them. We need real health care reform, not blame.
As I mentioned before we need real health care reform in this country. For fat people the public option is very important. Why? Because fat people who need to get private insurance on their own are often denied access due to their weight.
Unfortunately some of the debate is heading toward the position of "If only fat people weren't so fat, we wouldn't need reform." Former surgeon general Richard Camona and his organization STOP believe so and they are sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis (Creator of the diet drug that even the FDA rejected) and
Amylin Pharmaceuticals (Diabetes drugs with obesity ones in the works).
According to the article, STOP policymakers suggest this.
Recognize proven clinical interventions. Studies demonstrate,
for example, that shedding just 5 percent to 10 percent of body weight
can lower the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Enhance the use of preventive services. The U.S. Preventive Services
Task Force recommends obesity screening for all adults, yet studies
show height and weight data often is not recorded during an office
Foster community programs and polices that encourage and support healthy lifestyes.
A community might design public spaces that accommodate walkers and
bikers, for example, or sponsor a farmer's market to make fresh produce
available to local residents.
Coordinate research efforts to
improve the quality of care, show which interventions work in various
settings and translate science into practice.
Now what will happen if we remove the first two "policies"? We get two policies that promote healthy lifestyles and better health care WITHOUT sigma and includes people of all weight and sizes. Thin does not mean healthy.
And why are we so fat? Well Michael Pollan (Now a Persona-non-grata on this blog) thinks that fatties should just lay off big food. "According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable
chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet —
there’s smoking, for instance — but many, if not most, of them are," says Pollan. Yet despite the fact that smoking is linked to cancers and heart disease, we don't assume everyone with heart disease and cancer are all smokers. I am also annoyed as I mentioned in earlier blog posts, anything bad associated with being fat is accepted as is (i.e. the flawed Health Affairs' study) and anything that says that maybe being fat is not a death sentence (i.e. the five studies proving those in the Overweight BMI category live the longest) are oftened dismissed or ignored. Meanwhile we are living longer.
An article from Connie Schultz is more pleasant, at least putting faces to headless fatties and chastising Cleveland Clinic Toby Cosgrove who thinks all fatties should be fired (Yeah, here come the unemployement checks!) but still shares the questionable $147 billion obesity price tag. In the end instead of making us villains, we are victims. Some choice, huh?
Fatties are neither. We are just people who don't need or want to be blamed, victimized or our rights removed.
Please read this NYT article about a hospital hit by Katrina in New Orleans. The article is disturbing but worth the read. It is about how hospital staff, one doctor in particular may have euthanized patients rather than evacuating them. In it you can see some of the callousness that fat people face in the medical field. Two of the patients who died were fat. One was awake and aware but unfortunately paraplegic. He was denied evacuation due to his size. The worse part was this section: "Several medical staff members who helped lead boat and helicopter
transport that day say they would certainly have found a way to
evacuate Everett. They say they were never made aware of his presence." (Italics mine).
And doctors who are fat or promote HAES often come under attack. Dr. Regina Benjamin, a highly qualified candidate for Surgeon General was ridiculed due to her weight. The continuing Newsweek Fat Wars series has an article by a fat nutritionist who loves her body and promotes HAES is attacked by commentators. Many even questioning her credentials as a nutritionist.
And of course we are constantly being told that Weight loss surgery will cure EVERYTHING. Once you get it, you'll be dancing in the street and crapping rainbows! Now considering how well doctors treat us, do you really want to rely on them for the rest of your life?
Meanwhile a great interview with Paul Campos shows that losing weight doesn't have much of a positive benefit. I particular like "focusing on making Americans thinner
diverts resources from real public health issues."
To me all these stories--fat people killed during an emergency, fat professionals questioned and constantly being harassed to have WLS--makes me feel that fat people are considered less than human. This idea that somehow the body is more worthy than the mind and the soul is just plain wrong.