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Should the Surgeon General be Slender?

By Ed O'Keefe

By Jennifer LaRue Huget in our health blog, The Checkup:

By all accounts, Regina Benjamin is a smart, accomplished person, a caring and skilled physician and a real go-getter.

Yet, by all appearances, she also is overweight.

Does that make her a poor choice for the post of surgeon general?

Regina Benjamin
Regina Benjamin is President Obama's nominee for surgeon general. (Photo By Marvin Joseph)

President Obama announced his nomination of Benjamin on July 13. The nomination has stirred little controversy, other than a flap over her abortion views. But as images of Dr. Benjamin have circulated on Internet news sites, some voices have wondered whether a person who is on the heavy side is the best person to lead the nation's health agenda, particularly as we attempt to wage war on obesity.

Some question whether Benjamin sets a strong example for others to follow. As this New York Times article, unrelated to the Benjamin flap, notes, an overweight doctor might lack the authority to counsel patients about their weight.

Others argue that Benjamin's weight has nothing to do with her ability to carry out the duties of the surgeon general. Some even say that her weight may help her better understand other people's struggles to maintain a healthy body size and in turn may help the general public relate to her better. Think Oprah.

Continue reading this post and take a reader poll at The Checkup >>>

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 22, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, What Would You Do?  
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