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Blinded by fat

January 29, 2008

Adding to the attention that the Fatosphere has been getting in the media is this article by the Washington Post. As THIN so succinctly points out, it turns out doctors are excellent at telling when their patients are fat, but less excellent at telling when their fat patients are sick.

The article brought up some important points, but it couldn’t help continually harping on the fact that Teh FaT KILLZ!

Lets see if you can find the missing conclusion:

Such negative views, some experts charge, may be helping to drive patients away: These experts point to a 2000 study of 11,425 women, which found heavy women less likely to obtain cancer screenings such as Pap smears and mammograms even though they’re at higher risk of dying from cervical cancer and breast cancer…

“What’s concerning is that people who are overweight and obese should probably be seeing their physicians more often, not less, because of their increased health risks,” said Rebecca Puhl, director of research and anti-stigma initiatives at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

Reading those two paragraphs brought me to an immediate conclusion that was not even alluded to in the WP article.

Perhaps… and I know this is just gonna sound totally nutty.. the reason that fat people are at higher risk of dying from some of these diseases is because they don’t see their doctors as often and thus do not get treatment until it is too late? Perhaps it is not the fat that is killing fat people, but the negative stereotypes and poor treatment from doctors.

Come on Washington Post, try a little critical thinking.

Update:  I feel like I need to edit this and make it way less harsh, because apparently the author of this peice was the same as the one in the NYT.  I am very glad she is making Fat Acceptance more understood and out there in the media.  But I do think there was an interesting point to be made there that wasn’t.


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  1. When I read those paragraphs, the first thing I thought was “Duh! If you don’t get paps and mammograms because of the fat-phobia of your doctor, of course you’re going to have a higher risk of dying from those cancers!” After all, if it’s not diagnosed, it’s not treated, and it will kill you. And of course, if you’re fat, and your doctor is fat-phobic, every ailment you have will be cured if you only lose weight, you don’t need (or get) medicine or any kind of treatment other than weight loss.

  2. shinobi42 permalink

    Yeah… I really don’t see how the Washington Post just totally glossed over that potential connection. It seemed to jump out from the article and bash me over the head.

  3. pianoamy permalink

    Ok this comment is little more than a “me too!” But… that’s exactly where my mind went when reading that paragraph, too. I’m hoping that the connection seemed sooooo obvious to me (and obviously others), that at least a few readers will pick up on it, too.

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