Monday, September 22, 2008

Fighting weight discrimination, one doctor at a time


If you've ever had the experience of going to a doctor for an earache and being lectured on your weight--or even if you haven't had that experience but dread it--there's hope for America's doctors. Yale University's Rudd Center has created an online course to help sensitize docs to weight discrimination in themselves and in the health-care system. According to a spokesperson, the course is also designed to help docs develop strategies to serve their patients better--always a good thing.

Doctors get 1 credit of continuing ed for doing the course, and their patients get a doctor who's at least been exposed to the notion of fat acceptance and questioning the status quo on weight.

I looked at the first few frames of the course and have to say it looks pretty cool. Check it out. Better yet, get your doctor to check it out.

8 comments:

Brian said...

The Rudd Center opposes fat stigmatization only insofar as they think they are better ways to make fat people lose weight. Their opinion of the fatosphere is, at best, patronizing. At worse condescending. For lack of a better word, they preach an enlightend fat bigotry. I'm glad they see no purpose to fat stigmatization, but I'm not satisfied by that alone. The fact that they still find my body intolerable is unacceptable. They want me treated with compassion, but only treated with it. They lack any respect for the viewpoint of fat acceptance and adopt the same self-righteous astonishment that we would dare disagree with them. Don't we know they just want to help? I'm tired of people wanting to "help" only on their terms. The Rudd Center will be doing these courses for the purpose of encouraging their own philosophy of how to advocate weight loss dieting. That is their stated and unmistakable purpose. Its all nice that they won't recoil at having to touch my body, but I'll thank them to realize I'm going to be holding out for something more genuinely tolerant.

The Bald Soprano said...

*cheers wildly*

With a side of "it's about time!"

Sycorax said...

I read through the whole thing, and I found it kind of crazy-making. It mentions two or three times, including a question in the final quiz, that obesity is caused mainly by genetic and environmental factors outside of the patient's control, and not by laziness/non-compliance. Great! But it's full of suggestions for gentler, less off-putting ways for doctors to tell their patients they should lose weight with dieting and exercise! The cognitive dissonance, it burns!

Rachel said...

I saw this online course listed on their blog yesterday. I don't agree with all points of their larger platform, but overall, I think the Rudd Center is doing good work. I'm glad to see that they now offer such a course, and better yet, it's free.

And to clarify, the Rudd Center does not promote "dieting." In fact, they explicitly do NOT promote "unhealthy weight control practices" at all. Seeking to "improve the world's diet" is not the same thing as endorsing commercial dieting.

Moviegirl20 said...

I went to the doctor with a back ache a month before I got married. He mentioned that I might want to think about losing weight. I told him that if I lost any weight my wedding dress wouldn't fit! It was already a bit baggy...

Brian said...

TO CLARIFY, the Rudd Center has never been anything but clear that it exists as an anti-obesity effort. Plenty of fat haters don't endorse commercial dieting. It doesn't mean they aren't still intolerant of our bodies. THAT is what the Rudd Center is working to do. To end "obesity". That is how THEY will judge their success. They are very clear about this and the contempt with which they hold fat acceptance.

Rachel said...

What Brian doesn't also reveal is how the Rudd Center is also dedicated to ending weight-based discrimination. In fact, they are the sponsors of the landmark study released earlier this year that shows weight-based discrimination to be more prevalent than discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, etc... The center also seeks truth in food advertising to the public, especially foods marketed to children. It works to ensure healthy foods are accessible and affordable to people of all socio-economic backgrounds, and that communities are safe for people to recreate in.

The Rudd Center also is one of the few anti-obesity organizations to recognize that weight is not always reflective of lifestyle choices, and their educational literature seeks to educate both the general public and medical field about issues that influence weight. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater rarely advances gains in any agenda.

Anonymous said...

Rudd has never been advocates of fat people. They use false advocacy, the very same way the Obesity Society does. They use weight discrimination to appear to advocate for fat people, only to sell their agendas, hype the horrors of obesity, and get people to diet and eat foods they believe are morally right to eat. They are primary about politics and litigation to promote political/marketing agendas -- not remotely about health. That Physician's weight management practices tutorial was utter insanity and disingenuous, and promoted every stereotype of fat people as diseased, overeating junk, being sedentary, having emotional issues, etc. It recommended doctors use the word 'weight' rather than 'obesity' when trying to get fat people to change their ways, for instance. It suggested doctors "motivate" fat patients for diet and exercise with questions like: "How ready do you feel to change your eating patterns and/or lifestyle behaviors?" The tutorial ends with pages of the usual diet rhetoric -- calling them "healthy behaviors," of course.
Brownell even admitted Russ wasn't about advocacy:
http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/09/science-medicine-advocacy-and-politics.html