This morning, ABC News graced my monitor with this interesting little tidbit of information about how people are responding to President Obama’s nominee for the position of Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin. Namely, the fact that she appears to be overweight in her photographs, assumedly a size 18 or 20 in clothing and guesstimated at 40lbs overweight.
Should you not feel like clicking that link, I’ll pull some of the more interesting quotes from the article to share below:
But the full-figured African-American nominee is also under fire for being overweight in a nation where 34 percent of all Americans aged 20 and over are obese.
Critics and supporters across the blogsphere have commented on photos of Benjamin’s round cheeks, saying she sends the wrong message as the public face of America’s health initiatives.
Here’s another good one:
“I think it is an issue, but then the president is said to still smoke cigarettes,” said Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine who is now a senior lecturer at Harvard University Medical School. “It tends to undermine her credibility.”
“We don’t know how much she weighs and just looking at her I would not say she is grotesquely obese or even overweight enough to affect her health,” Angell told ABCNews.com.
“But I do think at a time when a lot of public health concern is about the national epidemic of obesity, having a surgeon general who is noticeably overweight raises questions in people’s minds,” she added.
I’m overlooking the “sexist” aspect of this situation simply because I don’t buy that. It feels like an excuse to discuss something other than the fact that the woman appears to be physically unfit. My question is… does the physical appearance really make that much of a difference? Do you really pay that much attention to the Surgeon General to define them as or look to them to be a pillar of health? Is it that serious to you?
One last quote for the road:
Dr. Sarah Lester, a pediatrician from Andover, N.H., told ABCNews.com she lost 30 pounds, setting a good example for her patients’ families.
“I do think it makes a big difference,” said the 38-year-old. “Many ask me how I did it and when I tell them more exercise and eating less many are disappointed. However when they hear even for me there isn’t a magic bullet, I think it helps.”
What do you think?