As an internal medicine and public-health physician, I was dismayed by the apparent normalizing, if not glorification, of obesity in Robin Givhan’s Nov. 28 Critic’s Notebook essay, “Still behind the curve” [Style].
Obesity is a major public-health and personal-health problem. Chronic diseases linked to obesity cost Americans at least $150 billion in medical care. Obesity significantly increases the risks for heart disease; stroke; diabetes; many forms of cancer, including breast and colon; and premature death. The benefits of gastric bypass surgery in terms of health and mortality are such that nearly all insurance plans will cover the procedure for the morbidly obese. Of all groups affected by the obesity epidemic in the United States, African American women are most at risk.
Obesity is not about choice or diversity or “prejudices”; it is very directly about health and mortality. While there is no place for “fat-shaming,” there is no place, either, for obesity-normalizing.
Mack Bonner, Virginia Beach