Weight, Weight, Don't Tell Me! My Doctor Thinks I'm Fat!
As if there isn't enough to feel badly about, such as not fitting into your skinny jeans, or seeing yourself for the first time in last summer's swimsuit, now being overweight may affect the way your physician diagnoses you.
Weight stigma is on the rise, along with Americans' waist sizes, according to the Rudd Center For Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. It would be interesting to find out if any of these studies coincided with the recession and the rise in unemployment. According to another study I read, our waist sizes are dependent on our employment status; we don't have the funds for fresh produce, and we buy and more processed, inexpensive packaged food. (I don't know about other cities, but where I live, the dollar store sometimes has better fruit than the grocery store).
We've made inroads into the way we view and treat minorities, people of various religious persuasions, etc. I'm not sure we will ever combat every form of bigotry and bias, but biases against the overweight (and what constitutes obesity is subject to the individual)will probably never go away, because the overweight are seen as being lazy, or lacking in self-control.
Studies have shown that bias against the obese is particularly prevalent in physicians. Physicians practice by a strict set of rules; those rules affected me more than thirty years ago. When I was hired as a flight attendant by Pan Am, I had to meet a strict weight limit, according to my height and bone structure. And female flight attendants were never, ever,able to slide into the category of being in the large skeletal bone structures. Only male flight attendants were allowed to have a 'large' bone structure.
I don't know how much these weight scales have changed since then, but I know they still exist. Those weight tables may or may not affect the way doctors view their patients, but it gives them a starting point for telling their patients that they are overweight, even when there are no symptoms of ill-health.Continued on the next page