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Critics Slam Overweight Surgeon General Pick, Regina Benjamin

Imani Sankofa
Experts Say Dr. Benjamin Gives Wrong Message
By Susan Donaldson James, ABC News (Posted July 21, 2009)

Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, Obama's pick for the next surgeon general, was hailed as a MacArthur Grant genius who had championed the poor at a medical clinic she set up in Katrina-ravaged Alabama.


But the full-figured African-American nominee is also under fire for being overweight in a nation where 34 percent of all Americans aged 20 and over are obese.

Critics and supporters across the blogsphere have commented on photos of Benjamin's round cheeks, saying she sends the wrong message as the public face of America's health initiatives.

But others support the 52-year-old founder and CEO of Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic, citing new research that shows you cannot always judge a book by its cover when it comes to obesity.

Even the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance -- whose slogan is "we come in all sizes" -- has jumped to her defense. Read the full story

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In my opinion, I believe the Surgeon General should be someone who is healthy overall which includes being height/weight proportionate. I don't believe Dr. Benjamin's body proportion should be judge against traditional BMI scales because the traditional BMI scale does not take cultural characteristics into consideration.

When I chose my PCP, I made sure that my doctor was of African American descent AND was height/weight proportionate. I believe in order for you to assist in the healing of others, you must first be in good health. I would not send a cancer patient to a doctor who is fighting his own battle with cancer. I would not hire a personal fitness trainer who is clearly out of shape or obese. Therefore, I don't believe the Surgeon General, the highest medical position in our country, should be obese.

Do you think your doctor should be a paragon of proportionate health?

Imani Sankofa / Author & Editor

As a result of working with Imani, women learn to reduce stress, release weight, and reconnect to life. Imani is looking to work with women who are interested in peace of mind, improved health, and creating a life they love.

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