Monday, August 2, 2010

Frivolous Musings on Obesity from the New York Times

“Plus-Size Wars” in the August 1, 2010 issue of the New York Times magazine documents the travails of obese women looking for fashionable clothing and designers and manufacturers attempting to make clothes that fit. The article also mentions the burgeoning movement of the obese accepting their bodies and resisting the societal pressure to lose weight. If only the problem of obesity was limited to lack of suitable couture.

As a practicing general surgeon, I would like to point out that while obese people are coming to grips with their body images, they are also killing themselves. Just about everything involving medical care is exceedingly more difficult in the obese patient from the simple acts of having blood drawn, IVs inserted and blood pressure measured accurately to undergoing and recovering from even basic operations such as appendectomies.

Obesity is linked to decreased life expectancy and higher rates of diabetes, cancer, lung disease, hypertension and death from all causes. Finally, the cost of medical care is significantly higher for the obese. Compared to health, the clothing issue is of miniscule importance.

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