Community Roundup: Are Obese People Getting the Cold Shoulder?

Doctors ditch obese patients; skinny friends told to follow suit

An ongoing conversation on the boards this week centers around OB/GYNs opting not to treat severely overweight or obese women. According to this story, gynecologists in South Florida have begun imposing a weight limit on their patients. Among the reasons cited by physicians are exam tables can’t handle people over a certain weight; obese people are classified as high-risk and need specialized treatment; with high-risk patients comes a greater likelihood of complications and lawsuits; and standard ultrasound machines can’t pick up good images of women’s insides, because the excess fat gets in the way -- this can lead to misdiagnoses or failure to detect a problem.

On the Living Your Best Life boards, most members were appalled by the situation. While some could sympathize with the doctors’ dilemma, they, by and large, do not approve of the solution.

“I personally think that there are valid points, but I don't agree,” says krbh2001.

“I know doctors can accept or deny service to anyone not in an ER situation, but heavy women are in need of good services, too,” says jan.magee. “There's a doctor in Chicago that only treats 'healthy' people. She won't take you if you're overweight, smoke, don't exercise and I can't remember what else. With all that, she's not lacking for patients. I guess her clients feel far superior to everyone else, as does the doctor.”

“I thought we, the patients, were supposed to interview doctors! I can understand sending a patient to a specialist if they have a specific ailment that is not their field, but really? So, those of us with preexisting conditions might not be able to get insurance or doctors?” asks coldfingers.

If the medical equipment or staff are not suited to treat people over a certain weight, to me, it seems like the physicians are doing obese people a favor by directing them to offices that can provide quality care. At the same time, if two-thirds of the country is overweight or obese, perhaps the equipment should be modified so that they do work well on high-risk cases. I know one thing: The doctor who decides to capitalize on America’s weight problem by catering only to overweight patients will have a very profitable practice.

What’s your take on the trend? Should doctors be able to pick and choose who they have as patients? Join the conversation.

Are your friends fit?

Last month, iVillage reported a story that suggested healthy people should ditch their not-so-healthful friends. The study found that our habits, angelic or otherwise, rub off on each other, so that even our best efforts to get in shape and eat better can be seriously compromised by a friend who loves her junk food or forsakes the gym.

That got women on the iVillage boards talking. On the Gym Rats board, member jeanwl asked others if most of their friends are fit -- and if not, do their couch-potato ways tempt them to slack off.

Even though jeanwl admits that most of her friends are in shape, she’d like to think she would not ostracize those who weren’t. Still, there’s a reason she hangs out with exercising-loving people: She spends her spare time being active. “It's not that I make a conscious effort to only have fit friends, but I socialize mostly to work out, run, etcetera.” So while she might not drop her sedentary friends, if their idea of fun isn’t running a few miles, they might not find enough in common to see each other that often.

The good news is, healthful habits can rub off on others, too. If you're looking to form healtheir habits, hanging out with people who practice a lifestyle you admire or aspire to is a great way to increase your odds of adopting similar habits.

“I'd hope I could help influence them, but even if not, I know my healthy habits are so ingrained that I wouldn't pick up their habits,” says jeanwl.

Elissa_KKG, who characterizes her friends as “very fit,” says she finds her health-conscious crew to be a constant source of inspiration. “We all work out on a regular basis. I agree that it does motivate you when your friends are in great shape! Plus, we share fitness and nutrition tips with each other,” she says.

I would have to say that most of my friends are in a similar category as me -- we’re all relatively fit and healthy. We’re an outdoorsy bunch, who enjoy hiking or going on bike rides together. Someone who doesn’t like being active probably wouldn’t have much interest in joining. As for our diets, we go out to dinner a lot, so I’m thankful that my friends are not all about fried food, burgers and pizza. I love barbecued ribs, burgers and sweet potato fries, and would have a tough time resisting them. It took a long time to convert my husband over to my salad-eating ways. Along the way, I did fall into his habit of eating ice cream most days of the week. So, I know firsthand how easy it is to pick up someone else's habits. If your resolve isn’t that strong, or you’ve just embarked on a healthier lifestyle, I believe you do need the help of your friends to stick with it. If that means steering clear of junk food enablers and other diet saboteurs, so be it.

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