I got an email from a reader the other day with this article in it. I thought everyone who reads and contributes to this blog should get to read this article.
It’s all about weight bias among medical students. So those doctors you see that tell you your problems would all be solved if you just lost weight? They learned it in medical school. Those doctors who don’t like touching fat people? Their biases are reinforced in medical school. Those doctors who treat fat people with scorn and disdain? They learned it and had it reinforced in medical school.
Now, medical school isn’t entirely to blame here, I will admit that. Part of the blame lies with our fat-phobic society that tells us all, from cradle to grave, that fat is bad, fat is unhealthy, fat is disgusting, and thin is good, thin is healthy, thin is beautiful. But the medical community has the opportunity, and the knowledge, to counteract that message, and they fail at it, miserably, most of the time.
Yes, there are doctors that get it, that know diets don’t work, that eating well, that exercising in ways that one likes is the best path to health and will actually treat one for whatever problems one has, and look for the true causes instead of blaming those problems on weight alone. But those doctors are few and far between.
The rest of the doctors are all too ready to perpetuate stereotypes and recommend diets that they know don’t work for long-term weight loss because that’s the easy way out. They then don’t have to justify ordering tests to actually diagnose the true cause of a problem and risk not getting paid by one’s insurance. They don’t have to face their biases and realize that they’re bigots – that they need a dose of attitude adjustment to treat all people, no matter what their size happens to be, the same – to give everyone the same quality of care that they would expect.
That is the true shame of our medical schools – they’re turning out bigoted doctors who give substandard care to certain classes of people.