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Poll: Should Health Care Workers Have a Healthy BMI?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
As someone in the health and fitness industry, I've often felt the pressure to be a certain size or look a certain way. Why should anyone take workout and diet advice from me if I'm not in good shape and eating right? Although I've always been active, my diet isn't always the greatest and my body fat percentage isn't exactly where I want it to be. I'm not someone you'd look at and think "Boy, she must spend a lot of time at the gym." I'm a healthy weight for my size, but what if I was overweight or obese? Would you want me to be your personal trainer? What about your doctor, nurse or pharmacist? Do you expect them to be a healthy size because they work in the health care industry?

Dr. Regina Benjamin has been nominated as surgeon general by President Obama. She runs a rural health clinic in Alabama, does works of charity for the community and has been recognized with awards for her hard work. But instead of people talking about her outstanding credentials, there are people asking whether or not someone who's overweight should be in the surgeon general position. As a side note, it's interesting that this question is being raised about a woman, but never was when an overweight man was in the position.

If you went for your annual physical and your doctor told you it was time to start losing weight, you'd probably take his advice seriously. But what if he was overweight? Would it make you question whether or not he was qualified to give this kind of advice, or would it make you feel better, knowing he's likely struggling right along with you? In a recent New York Times blog, one doctor discussed giving patient advice in light of his own weight issues.

On one hand, I think it's important to practice what you preach. I shouldn't tell someone they need to drag themselves out of bed every morning to work out if I'm not willing to do it myself. But on the other hand, no one is perfect. Even though we have the tools and knowledge of what it takes to be healthy, those in the health care industry face temptations and challenges just like everyone else. There are days when I'd rather sleep in than get up to exercise. There are days when eating a hot fudge sundae is an enjoyable part of my day. But hopefully the days when I'm on track far outweigh the number of days when I veer off a little.

What do you think? Should health care workers be required to have a healthy BMI? Why or why not?

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Considering BMI isn't a good indicator of health, this idea is just ridiculous. Report
As a cardiac nurse (in pediatrics!) I often felt that my weight was potentially a barrier to teaching good self-care. I learned to use it to my advantage though, and try to use it to connect. I DO understand the struggle, but by working WITH patients and not AT them I feel like we can start to make headway. Since I'm losing a lot of weight in a healthy way, I hope I can be a role model for others trying to do so. Report
My last doctor was very overweight, but I would never degrade his advice based on appearance. It was a small town with very few doctors, but I was lucky to find a good one. He also was working on his weight and going through many of the problems that I was also encountering. He related to me in a more positive manner as a result. I AM GLAD THAT I HAD A FAT DOCTOR!

Bottom line, I didn't need any health professional to point out the obvious. I am overweight and need to eat healthier food. It doesn't matter who says it.

Should I have ignored the above normal test results and the obvious 25 extra pounds I was carrying just because my doctor was overweight? Report
I believe the "how can they preach to me about health when they are obviously overweight themselves" attitude is an excuse for not wanting to change yourself. What issues the health care professional is dealing with has nothing to do with being overweight yourself. My Slimming world consultant is very overweight, I have not thought once "you need to practice what you preach" because it has no relevance on my weight loss, Its me that looses my weight not her. She however is the one that is passing on her knowledge and encouragement every week. Same in the health care profession. Report
Everyone should have a healthy BMI - why only health care workers? I know that I should not gorge on cookies and candy and that it is bad for me - but I still do it. So, I have the knowledge but I am unable to gather the determination to put it in place.
When I meet my healthcare worker, I just need her/him to know what he is talking about. I do not care about whether he has the determination to practice what he preaches. Report
have some compassion and use your brains how not everyone is perfect Report
I am a retired and disabled Registered Nurse and I want to be very clear; most people have absolutely NO idea what it is like to be a nurse. Nursing is about the most judgmental of all the professions, within its own ranks, that I have been around. Nurses are generally unappreciated within their own ranks and most definitely by most doctors. Hospital Administrations and Nursing Administrations pit nurses against each other, especially between shifts. The only time in my career I did not see/experience in-fighting and jealousy between shifts was when I worked in a medium sized facility that utilized 10 hour shifts. I worked in the nursery and it was really nice because there was double coverage for the feeding times that occurred next to standard shift change hours and the night shift had help with the midnight bathing and weights that are a routine chore for that shift and day and evening shifts had help during the time that most doctors were writing orders and patients had visitors. There was never any mention or complaint that one shift did more work than another and teamwork really existed there. That was not the case for most of the places that I worked, either as regular staff or as supplemental staff.
Nurses, like mothers, are not allowed to feel bad, much less actually be sick; you better show up, even if you are dead (this has been a long running joke, but if you don't believe me ask a nurse what happens if she were to call in because she or her child was sick). Nurses also are among the highest rates of divorce. I was told, very matter-of-factually, one time that I was supposed to consider the hospital where I worked more important than my home or my children; it's needs should Always come first. In my experience, the preeminence of the job over the individual has always been considered the norm. Most nurses, especially those of my era, were expected to take care of everyone else before they took care of themselves.
Nurses are RESPONSIBLE for anything and everything from giving medications to picking up the floor (and sometimes even mopping it). That is especially true if something goes wrong.....; but, when things go right, the nurse seldom gets anything more than a quick thanks and wave bye; after all, everyone knows that the doctor is the one who deserves all the credit for patient recovery. Nurses check every medical order for accuracy and appropriateness for a given patient twice every day, first when the order is received and again around midnight when all of the days orders are reviewed to be sure nothing has been missed. Nurses have the responsibility of advocating for patients. I was on the front lines when patient advocacy became a paramount responsibility for nurses and we took a lot of very nasty reactions from doctors for having the audacity to open our mouth in his/her presence much less to actually question one of their orders or make a suggestion; but if something went wrong then it was our fault for not catching the error or problem in time to prevent it from becoming a real problem.
I have said all this to say, I generally didn't have a serious weight problem when I was working until my knees became so broken that I was in almost constant pain and barely able to walk. And there were many, many times during my career that about the only nice experience I would have over the course of a day or shift was the quick do nut, cookie or piece of cake, pie or candy that was always in abundance especially around holidays. It was not uncommon for that sweet item and a cup of coffee to be my meal for the night; especially since most hospitals/clinics did not provide anything for their night and weekend staff except what can be found in a vending machine; and those are not always kept stocked, especially on weekends. So before anyone sits in judgement about whether a nurse's BMI (weight) gives them the right to make "healthy recommendations" they need to have a clear idea as to what all the influences are that 'overweight nurse' has to deal with every single day before she gets the chance to think about what is going on with her own body...... Report
Yes - I expect my doctor and personal trainer to be in realtively good shape and I would not go to them if they weren't. It just seems hypocritical to me. Just like I expect my local fireman not to be an arsonist, policeman not to be a thief and my teachers to like to learn new things! Report
I don't think it should be MANDATORY that a healthcare worker should be REQUIRED to have a healthy BMI, but saying that I think that if an overweight healthcare worker tells you that you need to lose weight and instructs you how to lose weight, one's first question is "If you believe this is the way to lose weight, why hasn't it worked for you?" It is not a negative comment to the way the healthcare worker looks, just that if it hasn't worked for you, why do you think it will work for me?

Although, I would not go to a personal trainer who is obese or doesn't look the way I want to. The reason for this is the same. If you have all the answers, why don't you look the way I want to? Maybe that is being unrealistic, but definitely a valid point for many. Report
I'm always astounded at the number of health-care workers who smell like cigarette smoke (standing right outside the hospital doors to smoke as everyone walks in), and who are very overweight.

HOWEVER, although I'm not in health care (I'm a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama), I am overweight even though I know what I'm supposed to do in order to stay healthy. I'm slowly but surely changing my habits, but knowing what we're supposed to do about our health doesn't always mean it's easy. Otherwise, everyone would be at a healthy weight.

When I see obese nurses, etc., my first thought is not that they don't take care of themselves -- my first thought is how hard it must be for them to stay healthy when faced with a heavy workload, non-standard hours, and short breaks.

I do wish more health care workers actually looked like they tried to be healthy, but realize that "fat" person I'm looking at may have already lost 50 pounds and I'm just not aware of that information. I don't think we need one more thing mandated by the government.

If a person's job depends on fitness or size (like an airline steward/pilot, a stripper, a physical trainer, etc.), then yes, their fitness standards should fit within certain parameters set by those who hire them. However, if a doctor, nurse, or other health care worker is able to do his (or her) job effectively with the speed and accuracy necessary in each situation, then his health, or lack of it, is his own problem. Report
As an aspiring physician, this is something that has crossed my mind before. I think we have to keep in mind that the BMI scale isn't accurate for everyone and that many doctors face hectic schedules that leaves little time to prepare/seek out healthy options (I have a hard time now and I'd imagine that I'm not half as busy as a doctor!).

There's the old line "Practice what you preach" but it isn't always that simple. Growing up, my Dad would always tell me to never smoke cigarettes even though he did it himself. I understand now that he didn't have the will power/ desire to quit, but he didn't want me to pick up the same habit because he was well aware of how terrible the habit was.

Maybe your doctor became a doctor because they really enjoy helping others -- so much in fact, that they've dedicated their life to it (and possibly neglected their own life - and health - in the process). Try to think broadly. There could be many reasons why your doctor isn't healthy weight-wise, but in my personal opinion, if they're knowledgeable about the topic - and whether they follow the advice themselves or not - I'm going to listen.

It's sad to say, but most people are judged by their appereance. Then by their actions.

If you are not happy with your health care provider, for whatever reason, you should look for someone else. As long as you have faith & trust in their ability, that is all that matters. If their weight negatively influences your opinion, then it's not the right fit. Report
On one hand, I think that health care professionals should have a healthy BMI because of our natural prejudices as pointed out in other comments; however, on the other hand, we have to remind ourselves that it is not our place to judge others or to make our assumptions. Unless we seek to understand, we have no idea as to the struggles/situations of other human beings. When looking for a health care professional - we need to look at things below the surface of appearance and to know that we are getting the best care (care that meets our personal needs). Report
As someone who works in the healthcare industry, though not dealing directly with patient care, I think that people who work in health care should be healthy. However, being at a "healthy BMI" for some is simply unrealistic. If I were to go to a "healthy BMI," I wouldn't have enough body fat to ensure that my body functioned properly.

So I think that body composition should be the emphasis, not some arbitrary height/weight calculation. Report
I'm in the health care field and have heard countless patients grumble about fat healthcare workers. How can they talk to me about health when they obviously don't practice what they preach? I hear it all the time. We must lead by example. I have a healthy BMI and patients put more faith in me than they do in obese nurses and doctors. Another killer is healthcare workers who smoke. They have the right but they should not come to work smelling like cigarettes, nor should they visibly smoke in break areas that patients view. This gives the patient the feeling that they are not in good hands, healthwise. I've heard these complaints for 22 years and I wholeheartedly agree. I remember when I was a senior in high school and was told I needed to lose 30 lbs. I went to see a dietitian that my doctor recommended. She was HUGE and smelled like smoke. I tried but I couldn't take her seriously. I quit seeing her and eventually lost all the weight I needed to, on my own. Report
How can you "require" anyone to have a healthy BMI? What are you going to do, check them monthly and yank their license if they gain a few lbs??? It may "look better" for a Dr. or Nurse to be thin, but looks can be deceiving? And I go to the doctor for medical knowledge. Of course, a personal trainer is a different subject. Report
As a health care worker, I can attest to the large amount of stress we are under daily in our jobs. We are people first, why should we hold one perfession to a higher physical standard than another? Most of us work 12 hour shifts, all hours of the days and nights , holidays, etc.... The fact that health care workers are not in the worst shape of anyone is amazing. And I agree, men are given a huge pass on this issue while women are scrutinized. Lets just focus on the job at hand and leave the self serving judgements in the trash where they belong. Report
Personally, I think that there are degrees. BMI is somewhat accurate. It doesn't account for body fat, true, but how many docs and nurses are weightlifters competitively in their spare time to skew the results so much? My former doctor wasn't in shape, but he was thin. His nurse probably was 5'2" and 190-200lbs. She was also incredible to my daughter (we go to a family medicine doc). It would not have bothered me to take weight loss advice from her. She was overweight, and maybe even had a BMI of obese, but she carried it well. She was also kind. Besides, maybe she was actively trying to lose weight but had a thyroid or other condition. However, when I had my daughter, one of my nurses easily weighed in at 400+ pounds. She was winded standing up. I don't think I would feel the same taking that advice from her. Like everyone else said, I wouldn't go to a Dentist with complete mouth rot. I would choose a hair stylist with bad hair. It doesn't mean that they don't have the knowledge to do their job, or that they are bad people, it just means they aren't putting into practice the things they know to be true. I would happily take advice from someone plump. But dangerously obese? That is not something I can see doing. I am aware that certain things are out of our control, but our weight is something that we are responsible for. I can definitely understand that small amounts of weight can creep up. Even 60 Pounds. But hundreds, that is when I would really have a problem with my health care provider. Report
As a health care worker, we try to do what is best for our health. However, there are times when I worked nights, and my blood sugars would be in my boots. There was nothing open, and the healthy lunch that I brought was not enough to bring my sugars up. When your body is burning calories that you do not have, it starts storing fat to burn as calories. I gained a lot of weight working nights, and I am starting to lose weight now that I have a day job. now imagine how confused your body would be working a day/night rotation like many nurses do. Report
I would not chose a hairdresser that had messed up hair
I would not chose a car mechanic that had a broken down car
ok ok you get the point but I do not think it should be mandated
the key here is choice! Report
I didn't choose my doctor for his looks or BMI. He'd been caring for my mom for years, and when I moved back home, had no insurance, was only working part time, and needed immediate attention, he squeezed me in and assured me he would work it out so I could afford his services. When I got insurance, I could have chosen any doc in the area, but I stayed with him because he's a really nice guy. I don't care if he's out of shape as long as his mind remains sharp, he keeps up with current research, and he has the energy he needs to see to my care.

I know a lot of people who dread going to the doctor. I LOVE seeing my doc. He's a little pudgy, yes, but he is kind, compassionate, and straightforward without ever judging. He can be as blunt as a brick: "You need to lose weight because obese people die young." But he exudes such concern and genuine caring that it's never hurtful. He doesn't push a lot of drugs, but when he prescribes something, he makes sure I understand why I need it, how it works, and how I will be able to tell it is working.

I do what he tells me because I trust him, and that trust is based on his genuine concern for my well-being and the fact that he has never steered me (or my mom) wrong. The fact that he is a little pudgy and admits he struggles with his weight only makes him human in my eyes. In all other respects, I think he is perfect. I don't know what I'll do when he retires. He's about my age. Maybe I can convince him to keep working until I drop. ;) Report
I'm another RN, and I have struggled with my weight my entire life--not at all helped by long shifts, often without a five minute break, let alone a real lunch break. I am not going to apologize because after that shift I skip the gym and get the fastest (which usually means unhealthy) food I can, usually in large quantities.

As far as taking advice: I have been thoroughly put off by a physician who lectured me about losing weight every time I was in her office (she is no longer my physician), and highly influenced by my current physician, who speaks to me with respect about the fact that I have a serious problem. Both of these women are slim, but one can get me to try to help myself, the other one set me up to resist her with all my might. And the best diet advice I ever got came from an overweight OB/GYN I was working with. He pointed out to one of his pregnant patients that a fast food bacon/egg/cheese sandwich (a personal favorite) has more fat in one serving than anybody should eat in a week. So does the weight of my provider make a difference? No. What makes a difference is the attitude of that provider, and that has to do with personality and attitude, not with whether they can and/or do take their own advice to heart. Report
Reading the comments here, I feel like a terrible person for saying this:

I would raise my eye at a doctor who would push me to workout and eat less, when s/he is obese (overweight or "plump" is okay - I am not convinced that being overweight is completely harmful).

This is mainly because the doctor that I do have is "plump" and I LOVE LOVE LOVE her. When we talk about exercise, I am convinced by her advice because she does workout. She isn't a marathon runner or anything like that - in fact, she physically can not run without harming herself - but I admire that she makes an effort to swim several times a week because she loves it and she can. I always come away thinking, if this woman runs her busy full-time practice and is in her 50s, then I need to make an effort too!

I think what also would help is for a doctor to advise with empathy and compassion. Overweight or not, it certainly wouldn't help for a doctor to bark at a patient to lose weight. I think that if a doctor would and could advise so that the patient is convinced that it is coming from a place of caring (and not make the patient feel like a terrible person), many would be more open to it.

A second thing is for the doctor to make sure that the patient understands that weight loss should not be done overnight, and that it can be a long - but rewarding! - process. People naturally lean towards short-term solutions, but as we all know, quick anything will make you bounce back to where you were just as quick.

The last thing is for a doctor to help the patient navigate through the weight loss process instead of just sending the patient off with a "you need to lose weight" diagnosis. The weight loss industry is so inundated with so many crazy "solutions" - it is overwhelming! A good place to start is to point a person to a place where they will never feel alone in weight loss - be it SP, Weight Watchers, etc. A big part of the weight loss process is re-learning how to eat and live, delving into your own issues that hinder your own health, and finding ways to overcome triggers. Report
I feel so much better after reading these comments-you see, I work in healthcare. I am
overweight(perhaps not grossly so,but still,there it is).I have never been judgemental
with my patients & try to joke with them & tell them if I had all the answers I'd be skinny!
I have advised patients about Spark as a help,& have even given them appropriate
/cookbooks from my own collection...yesterday,a rather overweight patient asked
me if I was taking a diuretic-this threw me off & asked her why-she said well,you have
put on so much weight-I thought they might give you one!(in fact,I had just lost 5 lbs!)
I am constantly amazed by the things people feel free to say to us-I would never treat
a patient such!I should mention that at one time I worked for the Pritikin diet-I was in
perfect shape & I would have never been ugly to someone because of their weight! Report
Healthcare workers are first and foremost people. And what do we know about people? We are ALL flawed. Each and every one of us. Perhaps this woman has been working on losing weight in a slow and healthy way that SparkPeople advocates. Perhaps she has had thyroid problems. There is no way of knowing any of these things. The only thing we can know is that she is knowledgeable and competent and, like EVERYONE ELSE, should not be judged on her weight alone. Report
My PA likes chocolate, like a lot of people do. His ratios aren't perfect. BMI is not the be all end all. I just happen to know he rides his bike to and from work. That's definitely an attempt at staying healthy. My sil fusses at her fellow nurses that are obese and don't eat healthy. I don't expect my health professionals to be skinny. A lot of times they are the worst patients. I don't think it's judgemental to take them more seriously if I know they are being healthy. Report
USCSUNIV - right on! My first reaction to this was "how about the health care industry should create better, more humane, working conditions, shifts, etc for health care workers - especially nurses!" 12 hour rotating shifts, high stress, etc. (and often substandard insurance that does not cover anything but the basics really leaves people struggling with sleep problems, eating on the run without a set schedule, and doing whatever they can (smoking, sugar, caffeine,like energy drinks) to keep going. Report
One more thing . . . . We are supposed to be able to receive the message and not kill the messenger. No matter who speaks the truth we can't change it. It is what it is. I personally have taken advice from those that I deemed not worthy to give me advice and I'm glad I listened . . . when we don't we are the ones who suffer. Please consider this. All of us are here because we are or were obese at some point in our lives, are you any less worthy to give advice because you might not be where you would like to be? I think not at least you are trying and maybe these health care workers are too! Report
Well said Reesatay. I work in the health care field and have been in this industry for 25 years. I wasn't obese when I started working. Having to work a variety of shifts, going to school, taking care of my family and God only knows what else put me on a roller coaster ride with my weight. Eating what I could when i could. Sleeping when I could as often as I could. It was quite difficult at times to maintain any sort of regularity in my life. I am a 12 hour / 3 times a week night shifter and have been now for at least the past 12 years. So yes, my body has suffered and at times severely. It often rebels against me staying awake especially around 4 or 5 am. Last but not least least I say to those that think it matters. . . Just suppose you had to do a telephone interview for a job. You have all the qualifications and more for the position and they are very interested in hiring you, but when you get to the hiring phase and walk into the office after a glimpse of you they decline to hire you ... how would you feel? You would probably believe that you were being judged for your appearance so why would you do the same to others. Their appearance has nothing to do with their level of intellect. Consider yourself. How intelligent you are? Is it really fair for some one to keep you from working because you don't look like they want you to look? Report
WOW... so many "fat" people posting here are prejudice against other fat people. That amazes me. The prejudice runs so deep they probably don't even realize they are self haters. I would have thought someone in the same situation would have more empathy and understanding of others struggling with similar issues. Can the haters please tell me... what is too fat for a health worker/trainer to be before they are not worthy of their position? So are you saying because I'm obese you would not listen to my advice to lose weight? To exercise? To eat a healthy diet? Are you saying my knowledge is "less" because I am "more". So, because you are fat I won't listen to you. When it comes to health care workers or trainers giving advice on health issue ... it isn't their weight that influences me. It is about their attitude towards me and how they make the recommendations. A doctor that berates me for my health failings isn't going to help me, but if they encourage and educate me to move towards a healthier life then fat or skinny I'm going to want to listen to them. Report
I dont know what other people think but personally I would feel very uncomfortable taking off my clothes in front of a "perfect looking" doctor. However they should look about avarage so not too skinny and not too overweight. I think the most important thing is that they should have a healthy mind about their look. Report
I went to the clinic at my university near the beginning of my 2nd year. The doctor weighed me I was around 160ish. She started lecturing me on proper nutrition and exercise etc... since I'd gained my freshmen 10lbs. Her points were valid, however, I had a hard time taking her seriously since she weighed in around 250lbs. Report
"Required" in this case is a very strong word, however, I think healthcare workers should try to set the example. It's not easy taking health and fitness advice from someone who is not really doing it themselves. How seriously could you take advice from an out of shape personal trainer? Report
I'm a therapy asst. and had a boss who's a PT tell me once that he thinks if we're going to be telling our patients what to do we should be doing it too. I agree 100%. I realize that I'm overweight and that many healthcare workers are also, and many smoke and do other things they tell their patients not to do. The point I think, is not to put strict standards on the healthcare workers, but that we should be doing what we can to live healthier and be a role-model to others while encouraging them to live healthier lives. Report
If we followed through with this theory, wouldn't "Oprah" have been off the air for years already?? Report
What kind of magical land do people think medical staff live in? A land where they don't have 40-60 hour work weeks, commutes, kids and all the same things that regular people do?

Did you ever hear the one about how the mechanics car is the last one to get fixed because he's busy taking care of everyone else? It doesn't mean he doesn't know how to fix his car, he just doesn't ever get the time to do it.

No, I don't think health workers should be forced to have a healthy BMI. As a RN,BSN I work with pediatric clients in their homes and I have an added incentive to be more fit and active. But someone telling me I can't work in my chosen field because of being overweight is ridiculous.

As to the comment about health advice, I think it is how the information is delivered. If a person can't see you as a person with a struggle than they have no business doing what they are doing. Compassion is a very important ingredient in my profession. I'm not paid to lay out judgement on others. I can give advice based on parameters but everyone is an individual and I have to take that into account. Anyone who is unable to do that is doing a major disservice to their patient/client.

I have been on journey to obtain a healthy lifestyle and it is going to take time and patience. Do you take me at face value with no regard for my efforts? It is a two-way street. I believe, an overweight person such as myself, would have tremendous empathy for someone with the same struggle. Report
Personally, I believe they should practice what they preach. I know I got really annoyed when my extremely overweight nurse told me at 5'7160, I was still considered overweight and needed to consider continuing my weight-loss. I think if another nurse would have told me that, I would have taken the news a lot differently. Report
This is so sad...not only for nurses/mds but for the human race--can't you see that it starts like that--requirements for health care care workers, police officers,etc--"be thin OR you lose your job/health care,etc"-- then once society is ok with having a few lose benefits guess what--IT will be YOUR turn next!!- I'm a GREAT NURSE! I have an ASN,BSN and took classes for my master--I'm 5'3 and 160lb and I DO deliver the best care that a nurse can deliver--I just finished my work at 1am because beside "doing my job" I DO spent time to touch,lissen,care and even cry with my pts when many other nurses (thin or not) just walk in and out like robots---i understand why they do--people don't appreciated the care we deliver--but since I have to answer to my God,I care for other as I would care for Jesus or as I would like to be cared for-remember is not the size,skin color,language, etc--it is the HEART! Keep thinking and asking for guidance--God will lead us if we are willing to Him work in us--let's love others,after all we are here because we are not very thin people--- Report
It is ironic to take medical advice regarding diet and exercise from a physician or nurse who is not at a healthy weight. I realized that when I switched doctors due to moving out of state. My first three physicians were men and were very athletic. I took their advice to heart. I have a female physician now and she's awesome! The nice thing about her is she understands the work involved in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She's still trying to lose the baby weight after having kids and so we always talk about what it takes to achieve a healthy weight through diet and exercise. I admit that is she were obese then I would question any advice she gave me about diet and exercise - and only diet and exercise. If she made it through med school then she obviously knows more than me about everything else. The bottom line is this: My doctor and I are a team when it comes to keeping me healthy so I tell her everything so she can treat me appropriately. I even told her about SP!! Report
The GP I go to is obese. If anything it helps when we talk about losing weigh. He goes to the gym most nights and admits that it can be hard to lose weight. Report
HOW DARE WE!! Report
Would you go to a dentist who had rotting teeth? or a hairstylist who was constantly having a bad hair day?
I think people look at the professionals (no matter what the profession) as examples, and probably do so more unconscientiously than conscientiously. Report
First, the whole BMI idea has to be flawed. It doesn't take body composition into account - more muscle weight means higher BMI, but that doesn't inherently mean "bad."

Second, good grief, how judgmental can we be? Someone doesn't deserve a health career because they have weight issues? What if they're on steroid medications, which can blow them up like balloons?

There can be a lot of reasons why people are larger than they might like to be. I'm active and I know a lot of other active people whose bodies will simply not give up the weight. How cruel it would be to limit their career opportunities because of it. Report
I realize this topic can spark big controversy for a lot of very good reasons, and I don't believe in infringing on individuals' rights, but I have to admit it's a pet peeve of mine to see so many very obese people who work in health care settings. I work in mental health for a group of affiliated health care facilities. The HR department has some very good incentives and motivators for employees to up the ante on maintaining our own health, but as we all know on SP, obesity is a very complicated problem for individuals to tackle. TGFSP! (Thank God for SparkPeople!) So many success stories show it can be done! Report
In a perfect world everyone would have a perfect BMI. You may have noticed this isn't a perfect world. My personal trainer is struggling with a weight issue and she is the most in-shape person I have ever known (she's incredible). I still take her advice because it works! If I am seriously ill I want the Dr and nurse that is good enough to save my life, regardless of what they look like. You can't look at an overweight person and assume because they are overweight they are incompetent and stupid. Well, I guess you can because people have done it to me for years. I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to be judged like that, especially when I was really trying to get in shape. You don't know what that other person is going through, and healthcare workers have insane schedules and a LOT of stress. Have some compassion. Report
I am currently a nurse and also in school for day consist of sitting in class from 8 to 4 and then taking care of my patients until 11 at night. The stress of just getting in a healthy meal is daunting let alone taking a stroll. My BMI is not what I want it to be for my health, that is why I came to this site. Judge not lest ye be judged for the heavy nurse has just as much on her plate (no pun intended) as the thin one and we may be the one to save your bias butt one day, doing so with just as much skill and compassion! Hats off to all the healthcare workers! Report
Healthcare workers should be an example. If they are going to tell us what we should do to be healthy, then they should "practice what they preach"! Report
I don't think they should have to be in a healthy weight. If I'm overweight and the doctor tells me I need to exercise, his or her weight would be irrelevant to my situation. If a smoker tells me smoking is unhealthy, I'm not going to disregard their advice just because they don't follow it themselves. Report
I'm very surprised by some of these answers. What about the health care provider that has no control over his or her weight gain. ie: medical issues. Giving good care is their job. Other then that mind your own business. Report
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