The War On Fat

  1. 4
    To make a long story short I am a student and I write quite a bit about the experience of becoming a nurse.

    So with that being said I have decided due to some recent developments that I am going to write about the cultural war on fat focused on nursing.

    I am acquainted with a woman who is a critical care nurse. I have to tolerate her toxic presence in my life due to her association with my dude's friend. Now, I would like to mention I am no small girl and have gained and lost, and gained again 100lbs. I have finally gotten to the point where I am not beating myself up about it and see efforts now as a matter of love for my body rather than hate. Recently she said this (to me of all people), "I hate fat people so much. They smell, they are hard to move around, and I think they should all die in a hole somewhere."

    A member of my clinical group said, "You know these doctors will get upset at the COPD patient who is smoking like three cigarettes a day but say nothing to these fatties who don't follow their diets." I stood up, looked very serious for a moment and said, "HEY! I am one of those fatties that don't follow their diet." Then we went a few rounds with her saying she wasn't talking about me because I am "an attractive fatty."

    What does my face have to do with my extra 100lbs? Seriously?

    In any case I'd like an open dialog about the war on fat in nursing.

    Do you see it in your practice? Are you militant anti-fat? If so why?

    I've noticed that a good deal of the arguments that I've heard is fat is unhealthy, yet no one seems to see fat as being a symptom and not the disease.
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  3. 151 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    There are numerous threads on this topic. You may wish to research them, as the topic gets beaten to the ground around here.

    Be aware that some hospitals are now refusing to hire nurses with a BMI of 35 or greater.
    anotherone, theleaf, and OCNRN63 like this.
  5. 0
    Quote from caroladybelle
    There are numerous threads on this topic. You may wish to research them, as the topic gets beaten to the ground around here.

    Be aware that some hospitals are now refusing to hire nurses with a BMI of 35 or greater.
    Thank you, however I am looking for a thread not regarding hospital policy, or fat itself being healthy or unhealthy but rather why some nurses have a militant anti-fat view and who that serves?
  6. 4
    Really search the site......this subject has been debated over and over again. The "fat" patients are looked at as slovenly, lazy, noncompliant, stupid and disgusting. There have been comments about having "short arm syndrome" and the fat should wipe their own bottoms and that until the obese can control themselves.....they really shouldn't soak up all the resources. The the obese cost the health care system that "they pay for" too much money and if they can't help themselves they shouldn't be helped.

    Disturbing really.......
    Altra, DizzyLizzyNurse, nrsang97, and 1 other like this.
  7. 4
    Quote from Crazed
    I am acquainted with a woman who is a critical care nurse. Recently she said this (to me of all people), "I hate fat people so much. They smell, they are hard to move around, and I think they should all die in a hole somewhere."
    Yes, you will see that sentiment expressed here on AN...by nurses. It's no different than what you will hear out in society. Which, considering that 60-75% of our current population is overweight, is a rather curious outlook. I've heard men call women terrible names regarding their weight when THEY THEMSELVES are every bit as overweight, IF NOT MORE.

    Yes, do a search. It's all here on AN in its unrepentant glory.
    Altra, DizzyLizzyNurse, wooh, and 1 other like this.
  8. 0
    Quote from Esme12
    Really search the site......this subject has been debated over and over again. The "fat" patients are looked at as slovenly, lazy, noncompliant, stupid and disgusting. There have been comments about having "short arm syndrome" and the fat should wipe their own bottoms and that until the obese can control themselves.....they really shouldn't soak up all the resources. The the obese cost the health care system that "they pay for" too much money and if they can't help themselves they shouldn't be helped.

    Disturbing really.......
    Well glad I have long arms then.

    I suppose the thread can be closed?
  9. 23
    I am as anti-fat as I am anti-anorexia/bulimia, anti-smoking and anti-riding a donorcycle without a helmut, anti-unprotected sex, anti-failing to wash your hands, etc. I counsel all my patients that smoke, I counsel all my patients that have high BP, high cholesterol, and too high or too low BMI, etc. It is my professional responsibility to discuss the risks associated with unhealthy behaviors. I have probably lost patients over it. I don't care. They don't get tacit approval for ignoring risk factors just because they are embarrassed about it.

    People need to separate the emotional component from the facts. As BMI increases over 25, risks go up. As pack years smoking history increases, risk increase. I have a cardiologist friend who will not treat smokers. You either quit, or find a new cardio. He sees them as just wasting his time. I think that's extreme, but I do get frustrated hearing "my knees hurt, gimme medicine" from people with BMIs over 35. "I smoke 2 packs a day and I'm SOB, gimme medicine, FIX IT!" It gets tiresome.
    JBMmommy, redhead_NURSE98!, canoehead, and 20 others like this.
  10. 0
    we need to understand that a significant part of an individual’s health is embedded in their dna, and as they reach the workforce this too should be taken under consideration for the growing epidemic on obesity. having said that, we know all too well that many of the chronic health issues seen today in the united states, including type 2 diabetes and hypertension, are related to diet and lifestyle. furthermore, we’re taught in nursing school to encourage healthy lifestyles and teach patients and the public how to stay healthy and yet some of us are guilty of not walking the walk. unquestionably, one can’t dismiss that some it’s related to medical condition like hormone imbalance and other contributing factors. with that said, it’s not always easy to get motivated to do something you know you should do, losing weight is generally on that list for a nurse. however, undertaking a lifestyle change requiring to lose weight may take more work and effort than it might for someone who works regular hours, and in a less stressful environment. on this level, regarding the individual that had the audacity to say “i hate fat people” in your presence, you need to consider the source. on the light of the, i have always said if you’re content and healthy with whatever your weight is, more power to you. although, patients and family members may not consciously be aware of it, but when they see the nurses who care for them, they make observations about the nurses’ behavior and appearance. undoubtedly, if a doctor recommends a calorie-reduced diet or other restrictive diet, the nurse is the one who generally must answer questions and be available for patient teaching if the dietitian is not available. needless to say, it’s not that different from the days when a doctor, smoking a cigarette in his office, would advise his patient that he should stop smoking because it’s jeopardizing his health. wishing you all the best and health always…aloha~
  11. 5
    Right and encouraging health should encompass all health right?

    The way I see it is by being militant anti-fat a nurse inevitably causes harm to a patient's mental health putting them even further back on the ladder of health.

    I have PCOS and it took me five years to loose 100 lbs.

    In one year I gained it all back and no one can tell me why.

    *I should note that I wasn't hurt or even shocked by her statement or the statement that anyone else makes about fat people. I see fat as an adjective like tall, short, etc.

    Oh and on the subject of nurses being examples: I counseled a CHF patient on weight loss and I explained to him, "You do not need to fight this battle alone, and I know it's hard because I've done it more than once."
  12. 12
    You asked for open dialogue, and I believe that you just received it. If you choose to argue about someone's belief, then you may stifle the open dialogue. It is never right to call people names like fatty, etc.

    When we correct pts on their smoking, their drinking, lack of exercise, caffeine intake, even tactfully, it all is going to hurt their feelings. Being told that one is doing wrong hurts their feelings. But to not address it hurts their body.

    Often as nurses we must hurt pts to help them. And quite bluntly, it is quite wastful to keep paying for knee replacements, bypasses, disability for backpain, on a morbidly obese pt that refuses to adhere to a diet. Why should HCW work ever harder to care for someone who does nothing to help themselves? or who insists on overeating despite the harm that it is causing them.

    Many of us have have medical issues that make it difficult to lose weight. I frequently use high dose prednisone, for example. We also make excuses as to why we eat the way we do. I'm stressed, my work place hasn't got healthy food, I can't make the time to eat right, yada, yada.

    But the fact remains, that human biology (metabolism) has not changed that much from a century ago, or for our fellow humans in nearby nations. We (in the first world) have incredible resources for food, and ease of obtaining much of what we need, yet, have incredible poor health, bad eating habits, and skyrocketing obesity rates.

    Recently, I went to NYC. I pretty much doubled or tripled my calorie intake. And yet I lost weight (despite prednisone). Why? I walked up stairs, downstairs, stood on the bus, the subway, ran to catch my ride and did alot of walking tours and was on the go.

    That tells me something.
    not.done.yet, kids, RN in training, and 9 others like this.


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