The SparkPeople Blog

Poll: Should Health Care Workers Have a Healthy BMI?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/28/2009 5:51 AM   :  542 comments   :  24,872 Views

See More: news, health, obesity, poll,
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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Comments

  • ZIGGYZIGGLER
    492
    When the truth is coming from a hypocrite, it is no less true.

    For sure, a doctor or nurse may feel awkward delivering advice about weight loss, especially if they have weight issues, but it doesn't make the truth less true. If a health professional with "issues" is allowed to abdicate the responsibility of speaking the truth to patients with similar issues, wouldn't that be nice? We could do what we always do in life. Seek out people who say what we like to hear, or seek out health care people who are fat so we don't have to hear it....

    I do agree the lines aren't so clear as with an oncologist. They can't be expected by virtue of their profession to never fall prey to the disease they fight.... I'm seeing where this could go a hundred ways.. - 5/17/2010   10:09:54 PM
  • 491
    sorry for the double post : ) - 5/17/2010   1:53:29 PM
  • 490
    wow , i can't believe we're even talking about this. it's obvious that medical science has no idea how to stop the increasing weight of the whole planet, we all are facing prejudice and discrimination daily , we all know how hard it is to loose weight and some of us still dare to judge other people. everyone knows that working in health care means a lot of stress ,not mention the inhuman work schedule sometimes and stress makes loosing weight more difficult. i don't think you would like your nurse to be dizzy from starvation or overworking her muscles. and no,i am not a nurse. - 5/17/2010   1:42:22 PM
  • FULTONCOUNTY
    489
    I work in the health care industry (yes, it's a business) and to demand that employees weigh a certain amount is discrimination disguised as good intentions. We wouldn't demand to be treated by only American citizens, or only 40 yr olds, or only accept care from someone who has the same religious beliefs as we do. Healthcare is a job just like any other...some people do it well and others don't. Let's concentrate on skill and knowledge and not on body image. - 5/17/2010   12:00:36 PM
  • NEBRASKANURSE
    488
    Wow!! I have been a nurse for many years and I have been a patient many times as well. I have had some overweight nurses that have offered me great care. I judge nurses by their skills and competancy, not by how much they weigh. I have seen skinny nurses who do not model healty behaviors. Losing weight is hard and just because we are nurses does not make it easier for us. I think sometimes when skinny nurses tell me hwo to lose weight, I often think. "How do they know, they probably have never had to lose any." Make a standard for a certain BMI for healthcare workers Absolutly NOT!!! Do we say all personal trainers have to have huge muscles or they can't be a real trainer? Or that diabetic educators can't have diabetes? Are we going to make standards oh healthcare woirkers and their choleterol levels? If we set standards such as these we would lose many great nurses! - 5/17/2010   9:40:39 AM
  • GOODBYEHORSES
    487
    I don't want to be told by a fat doctor/nurse that I am fat, unhealthy, and need to lose weight. It's called setting a good example. Plain and simple. - 5/17/2010   3:50:10 AM
  • 486
    Well this was certainly not what I needed to read before turning in for the night. Now, let me explain some things to some of the very MIS-INFORMED (or ignorant, whichever you choose to call yourselves!). These things that are talked about in the previous blogs are so true. Overworked and underpaid nurses do exist in overwhelming numbers in this country. (I have been an RN for 20+ years). Since that has already been discussed I will just say that I have been employee of the month numerous times, Nurse of the Year several times, am certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Saving, Pediatric Advanced Life Saving, Oncology, Emergency Department, Psychology, Geriatrics and Med-Surge. I have worked in hospitals, homes, nursing homes, for the government and for the private sector.I am an outstanding nurse and can only pray that a nurse with my skills and knowledge take care of me if and when I need them too. I have diabetes and I have had open heart surgery. Yes, I am OBESE but I am one helluva good nurse. I can give you a list of references 5 miles long. Now-I can't possibly tell you how many lives that I have been responsible for or how many lives that I have saved (God working through me of course!). I can't tell you how many patients requested that I be their nurse upon a return visit, WAY too many to count! Am I perfect? Of course not, but I AM an excellent nurse and I can work just as hard, if not harder than my "skinny, fit" co-workers (several of whom we have found stealing narcotics and shooting up Demerol in the bathrooms!). I can start an IV on dialysis patients, burn victims, dehydrated patients and babies. Not being the "proper BMI" has NOTHING to do with my job performance and I RESENT the suggestion that it does! If YOU have never been an RN then you don't have a clue what it's all about anyway. Just be careful that your FAT nurse never finds out how you really feel about them! It is unspoken but everyone with a brain knows not to piss their nurses off! - 5/17/2010   12:03:40 AM
  • MOMMAKNOWSBEST
    485
    I think health care workers should be of a responsible height/weight ratio as they are an example for others. I remember my family doctor (when I was a kid) came in smelling like smoke because he used to smoke outside the back door of the office! I hated it even as a kid and couldn't understand why my parents thought he was a good doctor! - 5/16/2010   9:47:41 PM
  • 484
    I'm an RN and think we should set an example and also educate our patients. I find the cafeteria food mostly unhealthy at many hospitals. Also, as someone else mentioned our job is very stressful. We work weird hours and often don't get out breaks or lunch in a timely manner. Sometimes when we do the cafeteria is closed. I pack my food 97% of the time so I can eat healthy. Another obstacle is all the junk food that is brought in by patient's family, reps, and staff. Ugh! You wouldn't believe it! Lastly, hospitals don't offer work out areas often. All in all it is a struggle for a lot of us. SP has helped me a lot and when I have a bad day I just start over again. I don't keep going in the down hill spiral. My journey is long and slow but I will reach my goal and be a good example for my patients. - 5/16/2010   9:16:37 PM
  • EIRE329
    483
    I think most healthcare workers would love to be in a healthy BMI. One big hitch in the whole thing is what the cafeteria serves. Would you want the same entrees week after week? And only healthy choices served Monday through Friday? Unfortunately that is what a LOT of hospital staff deal with. Not enough adequate freshly cooked food but a whole heck of a lot of fried, high fat choices.

    Another factor in higher BMIs amongst hospital staff is STRESS. Stress begets cortisol (fight or flight hormone) which has a nasty little side effect of decreasing the likelihood of losing weight. Plus the lack of onsite excercise facilities for staff makes exercising a bit more difficult for staff that can't do the stairs or don't have the time on lunch to walk the building.

    Frankly, I think my doc, an internist, who has a weight problem but has shared his difficulties and successes with me and other patients, is much more credible source about weight loss and its benefits than some skinny minnie (man or woman).

    But that's just my view. - 5/16/2010   5:09:04 PM
  • 482
    Skinny does not mean spart and knowledgable just as obese does not mean stupid. If you are judging the ability of someone by their weight then we all need to look in the mirror at ourselves. Those of us who struggle with our weight know what it feels like to be judged by our looks when the people judging do not know what struggles we may be going through trying to get healthy. We have no right to judge others. Just because you may be a health care worker does not mean that you do not have the same challenges and struggles with weight as someone who is not a health care worker. You cannot make assumptions about someone regardless of their field of expertise by simply looking at them. I hope we never move to a society that bases credibility and knowledge on how one looks. That is like saying a male who may be a registered nurse should not be a maternity nurse because he is not a female or an OB/GYN should not be a male. To my way of thinking it is small minded of people to look at someone and decide their competancy. - 5/16/2010   1:40:25 PM
  • 481
    Let's not forget the other end of the scale ... where some are so food obsessed they also have health problems. I don't want to go to a Health care professional whose past history includes an eating disorder because their advice may be distorted by their beliefs. Fair, accurate and balanced advice is absolutely necessary! - 5/16/2010   7:20:47 AM
  • 480
    One more observation before I make myself forget this thread was every posted on here.

    If a healthcare provder says that you just had a massive heart attack and need to lose weight, lower your BP, lower your cholesterol, etc. or that you should quit smoking so that you don't develop lung cancer, emphysema, or COPD....if that provider happens to be overweight or a smoker....that doesn't make what they say any less true....and for people to be on here saying that you will blow it off because they are struggling with the same problem...in the end the only person that is going to be hurt by not listening and following their advice is YOU. - 5/16/2010   12:19:38 AM
  • 479
    @ Tonia....I cannot believe you said this maybe 5 posts after my last....."I absolutely don't want anyone giving me advice about something they are apparently struggling with themselves. An overweight healthcare provider -- or one that smokes, or does drugs -- is neither reliable nor credible."

    So you believe that I am not credible because my 29ACT, Dean's List Honors, being recognized as one of the top nurses in my hospital, getting a high rate of positive comments on the Press-Ganey, and the fact I have saved many lives is overshadowed by my weight???? I am not reliable??? I have had no tardies and no absences in TWO YEARS!!!!! Your comment is prejudice in its purest form, and I don't know what you do for a living, but I can say that I wouldn't want to get that service from someone who is so prejudiced.

    I can honestly say, this thread makes me very angry while reading it. I have never experienced this kind of prejudice firsthand before. I am incredulous and appalled at the judgemental attitudes I see on this page and from people who are overweight themselves. Does this mean you are all incompetent at your jobs too since you apparently think I am????

    First of all, the question that was posed was should healthcare workers be required to have a healthy BMI.....not should healthcare workers have a healthy BMI in order to tell you how to lose weight, so maybe you are saying "yes" because you have misunderstood the question. Just know, I have worked with THIN nurses that would sit there and gossip while *I* was the one hanging new LIFESAVING drips on their ICU patients because they were too lazy to get up and do it themselves. So if you are in the hospital, I wouldn't feel safer just because you got assigned to the thin nurse.

    THIN does not equate to SMART, QUALIFIED, CREDIBLE OR RELIABLE. So again I say if I'm the only one around when your life needs saving, I will try to find you a THIN nurse in time because I'm sure you wouldn't want the fat unreliable one touching you since my fat evidently stops my synapses from firing.


    - 5/15/2010   11:49:24 PM
  • 478
    My biggest issue about obese health care workers is that they fail to see my weight issues as a problem. When I discussed my weight with my overweight nurse, she actually said, "you're not that overweight". Mind you at that time, I weighed in at a BMI of "obese". :( - 5/15/2010   10:07:31 PM
  • 477
    My biggest issue about obese health care workers is that they fail to see my weight issues as a problem. When I discussed my weight with my overweight nurse, she actually said, "you're not that overweight". Mind you at that time, I weighed in at a BMI of "obese". :( - 5/15/2010   10:02:45 PM
  • 476
    I am a nurse and I am technically still considered obese, by the standards of the BMI tables. I consider myself very healthy though, eat healthy food and rarely eat fast food. I watch out for sodium and fat and cholesterol, eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies. I dont drink to excess. I have never smoked. I work out...hard...6-7 days per week, including cardio, yoga, strength, and water/swimming.

    If I get the chance, I will tell my story to my patients. I used to weigh 55 lbs, more than I do now. I lost it slowly, and I have been (mostly) maintaining for almost 10 years.

    Health is about more than a mere number. Frankly I cant believe how many SP members have bought into the idea that only skinny people are healthy.There is SO much more to it than that. It is about mental and physical and maybe even spiritual aspects of living. It is a constant balancing act. We know this dont we? Why are we so judgemental of others with similar problems? I think having struggled to make a keep my life in balance has made me a kinder, gentler nurse to my patients.(No Jillian Micheals here!) I remind them that even little changes, like losing 10 lbs, could help them breathe easier. That gentle exercise can help with arthritis, yoga can help with back pain and stress, and walking can strengthe the heart.

    Health is not all or nothing. I dont need to lose every last pound. (Iactually think I'd be a weaker sister if I did) I think health is more of a continuum.

    - 5/15/2010   7:22:25 PM
  • JOYDUF
    475
    Recently my husband was in the hospital. Some of the nurses attending him were so heavy they waddled to walk. Why would a hospital permit employees so obese to work attending patients who are heart, diabetic and stroke victims? They certainly are not in a position to encourage or advise such patients. It is scary, you wonder if they may expire or have the same problem as the patient.
    joyduf - 5/15/2010   3:12:16 PM
  • 474
    for the most part, yes. There are jobs in this world that should have special, unspoken perhaps, requirments. Nurse, fire fighters, Policemen. We should be physically fit. I know, all very politically incorrect. As a nurse, if I were obese, there would be many tasks that I wouldn't be able to do, would be unsafe for me or my patient. Heck I even need to run fast.
    As for Doctors, they should be modeling good health for their patients. Not be over-weight, not smoking. These are modifiable health risks.
    Come to think of it, I cannot think of one overweight Dr. in our medical center right now. That's pretty good. - 5/15/2010   3:09:15 PM
  • 473
    A slender healthcare worker does not necessarily mean a healthy one. Many, many HCWs drink to excess, smoke, take illegal drugs, eat too little, are bulimic. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean they're good examples.

    Judge your healthcare workers my their knowledge and compassion, not by what they look like. They're human just like you. - 5/14/2010   11:43:31 AM
  • 472
    I was at the doctor's office last week and one (obese) nurse walked past with pizza and another (obese) nurse walked by with cupcakes. People are obviously free to make their own decisions, but I don't take business advice from business failures, gardening advice from people with dead plants, etc. I do, however, know a trainer who is overweight - but she was MORE overweight previously. There was a definite "she's a real person who is doing it" component on her side. - 5/14/2010   10:49:55 AM
  • 471
    If only it was as easy as having academic knowledge or insider professional information! As so many of us know, there is no "simply follow this diet" to have a Healthy BMI. Some of us have healthy lifestyles but still struggle with weight. So many factors (genetics, habits, etc.)! Professional choice as a health care professional does not automatically provide the keys to a healthy BMI. - 5/14/2010   9:04:53 AM
  • EARTHBLING
    470
    While working in healthcare is a high stress career, we are privileged to work with our patients as they regain their health. Along with our patients we struggle with balancing family with careers and our own health. While I am aware that we are seen as role models, I hope the public and our patients also see us as people finding our own pathways to health. - 5/14/2010   1:32:33 AM
  • 469
    People who are overweight probable are more understanding than skinny people who have never had a weight issue. Everyones body is different and not everyone can maintain a ideal weight. Do we criticize a President who smokes but wants a better health care system? - 5/13/2010   10:26:27 PM
  • 468
    I'd much rather see the question "do you think it is important for hospitals/medical practices to create healthy work environments and wellness plans so that the healthcare professionals who serve you have the tools they need to achieve/maintain healthy BMIs and can set a positive example for you?" - 5/13/2010   8:11:41 PM
  • 467
    I know I'm much more likely to pay attention to my doctor and respect her opinions and judgments about my health if she appears to be taking care of herself and following her own advice. I'm a minister, and I know people wouldn't listen to spiritual advice or guidance from me if I were not attempting to follow it myself. - 5/13/2010   7:07:39 PM
  • 466
    It makes me both sad and angry to see all the yeses on this poll. We all have a wgt issue, and we know how hard it is to lose wgt. It is just as difficult for a healthcare worker to lose wgt. Besides, some people are not going to be at optimum wgt no matter how hard they try. Is it fair to judge someone by the way they look???? - 5/13/2010   5:35:54 PM
  • JSIMMON1
    465
    Actually I prefer to have someone in that position who understands what it takes to lose weight. To understand that because I'm carrying 30 pounds more than ideal it's not necessarily that I am glutanous and slovenly. Many thin people have no clue how other people's body chemistry can work against them because they themselves have never struggled with weight. I'd rather have a supporter than a critic. - 5/13/2010   12:04:24 PM
  • MTHELFRICK
    464
    I am a healthcare provider (Nurse Practitioner) and I have struggled with my weight since 2001 when I had my oldest son. I may be an NP, but I am still a human being who struggles. I am not morbidly obese, but I could definitely stand to lose about 40 lbs.

    To say that my weight should be an issue, just because of my career choice, is ridiculous! If you applying that logic, then you should examine the tax/financial records of your accountant and the criminal record of your attorney.

    I think I can provide an insight to my overweight patients struggling to lose weight because I know how it feels to struggle with the same issues. I don't patronize the patients about their weight because I wouldn't want someone to do that to me! - 5/13/2010   11:39:38 AM
  • 463
    When someone is studdying to be a doctor, they have required courses to take & Ironically, they spend the least amount of time taking a class in regards to health. They practice Medicine & alter the way someone feels through medicating them & their are side effects: this isn't preventive health & therefore anyone following a doctor & jumping through the hoops of life long medicating & operations: is no real answer to the patients needs. If doctors were really as intellegent as they think they are: they'd figure all this out themselves & get into the preventive health care. Of course if they changed the way they did things, they wouldn't make enough money to suit their rich tastes in the way that they live. Doctors make money on perscribing medicine & operations.

    I knew of one lady who had so many operations & organs taken out of her, that the doctors finally told her one more & you will be dead.

    There was a time in my life when doctors cared, then when doctors told me that I didn't know anything about my body, that is when I stopped seeing them & looking for preventive measures. The kind of doctors that are into preventive health care are the only ones that I'd see if any of them. I believe they should be healthy, why take advice from someone who isn't healthy: it is one thing if they are working @ it & desire to see you do the same with your life & you see the changes in them.
    - 5/13/2010   11:38:30 AM
  • 462
    I absolutely think health care workers should be and look healthy. I don't think I could take weight loss advice from someone who is obese. Just like I wouldn't list to someone say don't take drugs if they are a known drug abuser. - 5/13/2010   11:22:03 AM
  • 461
    Just like an overweight gym teacher or coach. I dont want my doctor to be providing me direction when they dont take those directions themselves. - 5/13/2010   10:44:42 AM
  • 460
    My short answer - NO! I understand the reasoning behind everyone who said "yes" to this question; I understand the whole idea that people wouldn't want to take health advice from someone who isn't healthy. BUT, I have a slightly different perspective. I have recently switched doctors and am SO HAPPY that I did!

    My doctor is a little short, a little round, a little soft - in short, she's a lot like me. Instead of making me feel like a failure for not having lost weight, she encouraged and supported. Instead of accusing me of "cheating" or of "sneaking a double quarter pounder with cheese every day" (as one super thin PA once said to me), she looked over my food journals and said, "Wow! You eat healther than most of my thin patients! You're REALLY trying!" When I told her of my frustration at the scale not moving, she didn't say "just try harder" or accuse me of not really exercising as I said I was. Instead, she said, "Well, you have some medical issues that are going to make it harder for you to lose weight. Maybe we should change focus to all the great healthy chages you're making and not focus so much on the scale?"

    I have never, ever, not once in my life had a doctor be this supportive and understanding. Why? Because I think, for once, I have a doctor who understands what I am going through. She is not thin. She does not have a perfect BMI. I'm willing to bet she struggles with the same tings I struggle with - getting exercise in, eating healthy foods, making better choices.

    Honestly, I've had such bad experiences with those "ideal" thin doctors, nurses, PA's and other health professionals that I don't even want to talk to them. How could someone who weighs as much as a toothpick understand what I go through? How could someone who is super thin understand the frustration, self-loathing and heartbreak that goes with living in my body? And, clearly, by the way I've been treated in the past, the vast majority of those people had absolutely no clue.

    Sorry, but I'm sticking with my chubby doctor. At least she gets it! - 5/13/2010   9:33:58 AM
  • 459
    I would hope that Health Care Workers would be motivated to have a healthy BMI but I do not feel that they should be required. I work in health care and because of a medical condition I gained almost 100 lbs. It took years but I FINALLY lost a significant part of the weight that I had gained. It was my choice and if someone had tried to force me I can say with confidence that I would have failed. - 5/13/2010   8:57:37 AM
  • 458
    As a healthcare worker, I do feel like my appearance has an impact on my patients. I am an occupational therapist and whether I'm working with one of the kids in our outpatient clinic or working with adults on our Rehab unit, I can't expect them to do something that I'm not able to do myself.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say that a healthy BMI should be a requirement, but what bothers me is seeing nurses, doctors, physical or occupational therapists, and other healthcare workers throughout the hospital who are obese or even morbidly obese, no matter what their BMI is. Eating a relatively healthy diet and getting in exercise doesn't always equate to a healthy BMI and I realize that it's difficult to do so when you work shifts that nurses or other healthcare workers do.

    Real life example for me? One of my professors in OT school was morbidly obese and he taught our health and wellness class. In my class of 21 people I don't think any of us were able to fully take him seriously when he didn't appear to be making any of the efforts he was suggesting we make in our diet and exercise routines. When he started changing his diet (he didn't come to PM classes with his cup from his fast food lunch anymore-think bottled water) and his exercise habits (he actually participated in class exercise sessions and went to the gym) we were able to take him seriously, even though he was still morbidly obese he was making efforts to change that fact. And that's what makes the difference for me. - 5/12/2010   10:37:53 PM
  • 457
    Personally I don't judge a doc by his or her weight. I judge them based on their knowledge how they are going to take or help me take care of my needs. If I have a personal trainer (which I do) I don't expect them to be fat free I just expect them to assist me in my goals and convey the information that they know not based off of there personal experiences, if we did that then we wouldn't go to anyone expect ourselves cause one there is not one person like any other. - 5/12/2010   7:00:16 PM
  • 456
    Weight should not be a requirement for their jobs. The nice thing about here is that we can choose the doctors and programs we want. You can choose who you are most comfortable with on your journey - be it male/female, skinny/not or any other criteria a person may have. But for me, I'd rather have a doctor that I feel comfortable with in confiding. What they look like is not important - how they treat me and their competence is. - 5/12/2010   1:10:04 PM
  • 455
    No we shouldn't be required to do anything. We need the ability to make our own choices for ourselves. This is supposed to be America where we have 'freedom to choose'. More and more of our rights have been taken away and I would hate to see any rule requiring staff to be a certain weight. I work in a hospital and there are plenty of people who are overweight, but they are still saving our lives every day. We already have a shortage of medical professionals, the LAST thing we need to do is get rid of more just because they aren't an appropriate weight.

    I lost the weight for myself, and no one else. If you start forcing people to lose weight in order to conform to certain standards there is going to be a huge problem. I don't care if the Dr/nurse saving my life is 100lbs or 300 lbs as long as they save it! Something to keep into perspective... - 5/12/2010   7:29:40 AM
  • 454
    I'm not a health worker (currently education, former retail) but man would I like having a 30 minute uninterrupted lunch along with 30 minutes a day to go take a stroll. Somehow I don't see that every happening though...I mean, would you want to be the spouse of a patient who is crashing and be told "I'm sorry, Dr so and so is on his daily 30 minute jog"? - 5/11/2010   1:25:37 PM
  • 453
    DrG.. I love your comment. You are absolutely correct. I am a dentist and while in dental school, during the last year with boards and so many other things on my plate, I slacked on exercise, making it only2-3 days a week and gained weight. It wasn't just my eating, it was the extreme stress and definite lack of sleep. Most nights I got 2-3 hrs, but I still functioned.

    As soon as school was over and I took some time to focus on me, the weight came off. I believe there are and will always be MANY factors that determine your weight and until you know your bodies FORMULA, struggles will be constant

    - 5/11/2010   11:21:41 AM
  • 452
    Hmmmm.... another food for thought blog... I was ready to say 'yes' until I read DRG_MOM2_3's comment... As I read the blog, I thought, well I work in HR and everyone expects (make that demands) that I follow every rule to the "T"... and I understand that - how can I enforce a policy for them if I don't enforce it for myself... I was applying that concept to the healthcare worker and their BMI... but after reading DRG_MOM2_3's blog I realized the huge gaping flaw in my logic... Following a policy is a choice people make...however, controlling your BMI might be within range for some people, but not all people...Thanks again, SP for opening my eyes that I might see :)

    - 5/11/2010   7:07:16 AM
  • 4ME2LOSELBS
    451
    NO, health care workers should not be required to have a healthy BMI. As with anything, ultimately it is up to the individual to decide what they want to do for their own health and well-being.

    Someone may be the best at what they do for others, but cannot (or don't) do the same for themselves. The cobbler's children who do not have shoes. :-) The plumber's house with leaky toilets.

    Although I have noticed the number of significantly overweight workers (nurses, administrative workers, etc.) at the local hospital and medical clinic, I have to admit I feel more comfortable talking with a doctor (or other health care worker) who has a little extra around the middle. Maybe it's because even though they know the right thing to do, they also understand the challenges that will be faced.

    Although I will admit, many years ago I just could not understand the point of paying to go to an aerobics class where the instructor was overweight. If it wasn't working for her and she was doing these exercises multiple times a day, several days a week, why in the world would I think they would work for me. Now, on the other side of that argument, maybe she was going home and eating a gallon of ice cream each night and the classes were keeping her from gaining weight. Who knows. :-) - 5/11/2010   12:21:50 AM
  • 450
    Isn't there a shortage of healthcare workers right now? Making it a "requirement" for healthcare workers to have a healthy BMI would be just stupid. Besides, we want the people who are the best at their jobs, not the ones who just look the part. - 5/10/2010   7:15:51 PM
  • DRG_MOM2_3
    449
    I rarely participate leaving comments and such, but as a healthcare professional that has been struggling with my weight on and off since my first child, I have to say that reading so many of these comments makes me sad. I work 12-18 hours a day, usually 6 days a week to provide excellent healthcare to the masses that require it. In doing so, I rarely get a break because of the demands of my job. I don't over eat. In fact, I am hard pressed to get in 1000 calories a day. At one point, I was up at 4am for a 1 hour power walk (5 miles),eating breakfast on the way to the office by 5:30, working until noon before I got up from my desk. Stuffing a salad down as fast as I could before I did a walk/jog of 1 mile before rushing back to my desk, working until 6; rushing home to feed my family, get the kids to bed and collapse myself. I counted every calorie, even creamer for my coffee...making sure I was between 1200 and 1500 calories, nothing that was white carb or laden with fat. I cut out dessert and all forms of beverage except water and milk. I went to my doctor insisting a thyroid panel be run, which was normal. You know what i was told, eat less and exercise more....EAT LESS??!! I was faint most of the time from lack of nutrition yet that was the advice.

    Just before my 3rd child, I lost 30 pounds in 8 week by keeping that same exercise routine and increasing my calorie intake to 2000 daily. YAY ME! Maybe not so much....I have stayed at the same post-pregnancy weight (10 pounds lighter than I started) since.

    Not everyone is overweight because they eat too much or don't exercise. Those aren't the only contributing factors. Getting enough rest for your body to wind down is essential as well. Since most of the medical professionals (yes even the people at a plain old doctors office...) are on call, or work very long hours, they don't get rest. They may have their own medical conditions that you are completely unaware of that contribute to obesity. Medications contribute to obesity.

    I certainly try very hard. I eat a heart healthy, low sodium, low cholesterol, non-alcoholic diet, have never smoked a cigarette ever, exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day 5 days a week, and still I struggle, why? Because as a health professional, I am so busy taking care of everyone else and being there for everyone else, that I don't get the rest that I very much need. I chose this career, but I did not choose to be overweight and exhausted. I DID chose to be part of the process that saves lives. Am I a better person for it? Sure I am because I might be 50 pounds overweight, but I may just save your life some day.

    If you want your health professional to be compassionate about your BMI, have some compassion for theirs. You may discover that one of your teammates on here is your doctor and you just don't know it.

    - 5/10/2010   6:49:44 PM
  • 448
    Like many of the previous comments, I do not think it should be 'required'--there is too much control in alot of areas of live, we don't need another one. Having said that, I do feel that health care professional's need to evaluate how their behavior, actions, delivery, can affect those they are treating. I recently started a job in a health field--I walk every day at lunch and have encouraged my new co-workers to walk with me. Two people have joined me and I am hoping some more will follow suit. It isn't about placing blame on the stress on the job, lack of time, etc--wherever you work, whatever you do--have a positive impact on those around you. Not only will it be a blessing for them but it will also be a blessing for you. - 5/10/2010   5:22:17 PM
  • 447
    I believe that the best way to lead is by example. If your doctor is telling you what to do to better your health and they are not practicing what they preach, I think it can be difficult for some of their patients to take their advice. - 5/10/2010   5:22:02 PM
  • STACENATOR
    446
    as per most other comments, ideally someone on the health care industry should set an example of themselves to the patients/clients they serve. The ole 'practice what you preach' adage! By no means does it mean they cannot do their job compared to someone "healthier". it is the unfortunate way of society. - 5/10/2010   12:55:41 PM
  • 445
    I think it's all about practice what you preach. If you can't set a good example for others, why would you be expected to take their advice? - 5/10/2010   11:36:47 AM
  • 444
    I say yes! Why should patient/s listen to a doctor or health care worker who themselves are not at a healthy weight. Where I work they have a program for the patient/s to loose weight; what about helping the employee/mentor working with these patient/s? - 5/10/2010   11:00:23 AM
  • 443
    I think it should be at least something health care workers should be striving toward. I understand every person has health issues to deal with and in this case weight/fitness and lifestyles that are different and difficult, etc, but giving advice and not following it yourself is rather like a listening to a Christian preacher who does not believe in God. It would be hard to buy into advice from a Doctor to stop smoking if they smoke, right? I've had a doctor who was overweight telling me that I needed to lose and it was like it I heard it come out of her mouth but she did not believe it herself - she also smoked (which I've never done). I don't see her anymore. Just my $.02
    - 5/10/2010   10:52:54 AM

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