A Bad Pre­scrip­tion on Obe­sity

The Washington Post - - Letters To The Editor -

As a wo­man who has been over­weight from in­fancy, I find Dr. David Sherer’s pre­scrip­tion [let­ters, Jan. 30] for deal­ing with obe­sity mar­velously sim­plis­tic. Cer­tainly, we all know that weight loss re­quires more calo­ries burned than con­sumed.

The trick is deal­ing with a life­time of habits and psy­cho­log­i­cal rea­sons be­hind be­ing over­weight.

I have lost hun­dreds of pounds, only to re­gain them, usu­ally with in­ter­est. I find it hyp­o­crit­i­cal that when one is un­der­weight be­cause of anorexia or bu­limia, the med­i­cal com­mu­nity is more than ea­ger to as­sist not only med­i­cally but psy­cho­log­i­cally; the treat­ments, by the way, are usu­ally cov­ered by in­sur­ance. How­ever, when I, as a fat wo­man, asked about treat­ment, I was told that in­sur­ance would not pay un­til I de­vel­oped phys­i­cal ail­ments such as di­a­betes — which I even­tu­ally did and which in­sur­ance is now pay­ing for. Why is it that the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion seems to rec­og­nize psy­cho­log­i­cal fac­tors as le­git­i­mate rea­sons for be­ing un­der­weight but not for be­ing over­weight? MARA ALEXAN­DER

Alexan­dria

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