A recent New York Times article, published in the Alaska Dispatch News, entitled “Why Do Obese Patients Get Worse Medical Care? Many Doctors Don’t See Past the Fat,” highlighted the discrimination obese patients face when they are dealing with medical concerns. Dr. Justin Clark, founder of Anchorage Bariatrics, responded to this in his article, “Doctors Should Always See Past the Fat,” which was published by The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and the Juneau Empire.

According to stateofobesity.org, 29.8 percent of the Alaskan population is obese. This number is projected to rise to a nationwide rate of 42 percent by 2050, according to USNEWS.com.

As reported in The New York Times article, this discrimination covers almost every level of an obese person’s experience with doctors, often causing them to avoid seeking medical attention all together. Some of the highlighted issues are as follows:

  • Medical facilities fail to have scales, exam tables, MRI machines, and other necessary medical tools to accommodate obese individuals.
  • Many patients face humiliation when forced to use junk yard or zoo facility scales to obtain a proper weight measurement.
  • Many doctors provide a primary blanket diagnosis of obesity without looking further to find the specific cause of a particular complaint.
  • Many doctors automatically exclude obese patients from needed surgery because of the increased risks involved.
  • Risks are increased because of the lack of studies on anesthetic and drug dosages for obese people.

Dr. Clark responds to The New York Times article by validating the claims made in it, and agreeing that obese people do indeed face medical discrimination. While he also agrees that many doctors can’t, or don’t, see beyond the fat, he points out that not all doctors are like that. He states that at Anchorage Bariatrics they have the privilege of seeing obese patients and helping them with a multi-level approach to losing weight, in addition to helping with other medical concerns.

While it remains true that surgery on obese people has more risks, Anchorage Bariatrics will be here to help people lose weight so that they can undergo needed surgery with fewer risks. Anchorage Bariatrics is committed to helping individuals reach their long term health goals, both physical and mental, by offering personalized diet and exercise programs; several weight loss procedures including sleeve gastrectomy, lap band, and the non-surgical Orbera gastric balloon; in addition to a psychological program to get to the root causes of an individual’s obesity, and ongoing support groups.

If you are obese and looking for assistance in reaching your health goals, call Anchorage Bariatrics today.

To read the articles in full, please click the links below:

Alaska Dispatch News: //www.adn.com/nation-world/2016/09/27/when-doctors-fail-to-see-past-weight-other-problems-may-lurk/

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: //www.newsminer.com/opinion/community_perspectives/doctors-should-always-see-past-the-fat/article_a3e33998-8cfa-11e6-8034-e788e75798d5.html

Juneau Empire: //m.juneauempire.com/opinion/2016-10-11/my-turn-if-you-have-doctor-who-cant-see-past-fat-its-time-find-new-doctor#gsc.tab=0