Can a plump surgeon general fight obesity?

    Criticism of Obama’s nominee pick for surgeon general focus on her weight. Is it really even an issue we should be worried about?

    Regina Benjamin is the president’s pick for surgeon general and we knew it was a matter of time before the criticisms started to roll in. But what we didn’t expect was the American public, more than half of which is overweight or obese, to start bashing Regina because of her…um…plumpness.

    Some say she’s not qualified for public office because of her size; part of her job would require her to combat preventive diseases, like obesity., a blog that reports on women and politics, wrote that photos of her suggest that she will need a “generous size 18 military uniform” to fit her body. Comments on a recent MSNBC column about Regina reflected the way that some folks feel about her nomination:

    “Rather than select a fat Black woman Obama should have chose a Black woman with a body mass index of 25 or less,” one anonymous reader said, pointing to the popular measurement of obesity, called BMI for short.

    Another offered up this comment. “I refuse to let fat be socially acceptable…the president should have known better and picked a doctor who could kick start the debate on fat, not perpetuate it.”

    But we are glad to say that much of the blogosphere isn’t abuzz about how fat Regina may or may not be, but rather defending her.

    We found an online commentator that said, “I look at that picture and I see what an average American woman looks like. Wouldn’t she be the right person to give the average American the health advice they need? A super skinny workout-aholic may not understand what it is like to feel pressured into yo-yo dieting."

    Many have cited about a double standard with image when it comes to men and women. Would this be an issue if Regina Benjamin was a man or does is the American public always so image conscious when it comes to women? One good point we read; people feel inclined to discuss women’s physical images even when their job has little or nothing to do about health.

    We couldn’t agree more. With everything that Regina has done for her community and for the nation we can honestly say her weight is the last thing on our minds. Hey, her image may be responsible for a major decline in obesity rates in America for all we know. She could become that inspiration and push many average American women needed.


    –Christina Coleman

    Here’s more:

    Obama announces surgeon general nominee


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