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Government Women’s Health Site Acknowledges That Women of Different Sizes Can Be Healthy

July 28, 2009

There is so much insistence that thin=healthy, not thin=unhealthy encountered online and real life that this body image page from Womenshealth.gov (The National Women’s Health Information Center) sort of surprised me by acknowledging:

We all want to look our best, but a healthy body is not always linked to appearance. In fact, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes!

And then it goes on to emphasize healthy eating for the purposes of having nice skin and hair (and bones, less prominently). Sigh.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t also acknowledge the problems that physician approaches to size can create. It says (emphasis added):

A doctor’s health advice can be misinterpreted and affect how a woman sees herself and feels about her body.

That makes it sound like, when women or other people have really bad experiences with how healthcare providers treat them based on their size, that they’ve just misheard or misinterpreted. Uh, not always (maybe even not often), as a read of stories at First, Do No Harm will illustrate.

For more on the topic of weight, see Shapely Prose, especially this post, Don’t You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy?

Added: Kevin, MD on why we should not care about Regina Benjamin’s weight. Pamela Merritt also has a post on this topic up at RHRC.

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