Obama's Surgeon General Pick -- Too Fat?

Cynthia Dermody

regina benjamin weightAll the blogs are buzzing about Obama's pick for surgeon general, Regina Benjamin. The 53 year old small town doctor has an impressive resume, and seems suited for the position of government spokesperson for matters of public health.

But what most people are talking about lately are not her credentials but her BMI.

Benjamin is overweight, and some people wonder how good a role model she'll be in the center of a major obesity crisis. Half of all American adults are fat, and nearly 30 percent of children are. One out of eight people die  because of a obesity-related condition.

The Surgeon General is not a particularly powerful position. They don't have tremendous sway on policy. They do issue critical health warnings and calls to action from time to time. You already know about the warnings on cigarette boxes and alcohol.

And you may recall former Surgeon General Richard Carmona's call to end the obesity crisis in 2003, in which he stood up and asked Americans to make healthy personal choices and set good examples for their children.

What would your reaction be if Benjamin stood on the podium with that same speech? Would Americans be able to take her seriously?



Should U.S. surgeon generals be allowed to be overweight?

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