A Little Less Of Me

My quest to become thinner and healthier

Fat Bias in Medicine 25 January 2010

Filed under: Musings — lennonzgal @ 17:51

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/01/21/obesity.discrimination/index.html?hpt=Sbin

I saw that article today and it struck a chord with me.  Its frustrating to see how heavy people are treated just on the street, but to know that its happening in the medical profession too is just unacceptable.

When I was at the OB/GYN for my very first appointment while pregnant with Liam, I saw a nurse practitioner.  Before they even confirmed that I was pregnant, she was already barking at me that I was too overweight and that I should not gain more than 5-10 pounds during the pregnancy.  Nervous, I asked if I could continue running – I mean, I probably could stick to that number if I was able to get some good exercise.  She gave me this up-and-down look and said, “Absolutely not.”  Apparently, fat people can’t run.  I was allowed to walk, slowly.  Gee, thanks.  That’ll burn a whole lot of calories.  After I had Liam and went back for my 8 week post-partum checkup, I spoke with the doctor who had delivered Liam.  She was BAFFLED that someone at her practice would be so stupid as to tell someone who had run 3 half-marathons that she was not allowed to run during pregnancy.  She told me that the next time I get pregnant, I should continue running and ignore idiotic advice. 

It really hurt me that the nurse practitioner just assumed that since I was heavy, I shouldn’t exercise.  She had no basis for that statement.  She wasn’t happy about me continuing to do Jazzercise, but I did that until I couldn’t do the end-of-class sit-ups anymore.  I left that appointment feeling so flustered and so nervous … as a pregnant woman, the LAST thing I needed was one more thing to stress me out, and yet there was the NP barking at me from the start.  She must have mentioned 10 times that I was overweight and really needed to watch myself. 

When I saw her for my next appointment, I had gained the obligatory pound-a-week that pregnant women gain, and she gave me the nastiest look I’ve ever seen.  It was then that I decided I would see only doctors, and guess what … the doctors had NO problem with what I had gained.  And now, I’m a mere 5 pounds from that starting weight … not too shabby, I don’t think.

In the end, though, it shouldn’t matter what we look like … we’re all the same.  Someday, people will get that.

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One Response to “Fat Bias in Medicine”

  1. Joy Manning Says:

    The thing that drives me bananas about this is that it’s so lazy. I mean, if you are 20 pounds overweight doctors make all kinds of assumptions about your lifestyle. And if someone remains thin on a regimen of restricted eating and sedentary lifestyle, that raises no eyebrows. Health is assumed. If I made those kind of sweeping assumptions in my work, no one would ever hire me for a project again but with a lot of health care professionals (not all) it’s SOP.


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