If you were to ask the American people for a list of the biggest health problems they believe the country faces, along with cancer and smoking would be “obesity.” Whether it’s really a problem or not, the media are fixated and focused on how much we weigh, and there are ads, game systems, and books a plenty about how to get the weight off.
So, President Barak Obama’s decision to nominate the 52-year-old Dr. Regina M. Benjamin to the position of Surgeon General is either a great one, or a really bad one.
There’s not question that the woman is qualified—she’s well known and has done good work. She’s also a real doctor, and doesn’t just “play one on television.”
A Poor Choice
Some are questioning this selection because it gives some acceptance to the fact that a majority of Americans are overweight. Blogs are speculating on size, and the normal debate over whether it’s healthy to fixate on people’s size is again coming to the fore.
A Good Choice
It could, however, be a good choice, if the doctor could encourage people to lose the weight (a la Oprah). It all depends on what she thinks of the weight that she has and whether she believes she needs to correct it.
I don’t see a problem with someone that is overweight in a position of general health. I would like to see that they’re trying to be healthy—otherwise it could be seen as hypocritical—but in a society that has so many people that glorify the skinny, it’s nice to have someone that we can empathize with, and that can encourage us to be better.
Sometimes it’s hard to think of some of the skinny models and actresses ever worrying about weight the way an average person does.
For more on this topic: Is Regina Bejamin, Surgeon General Nominee, Overweight?