Viewpoint: Medical apparel brands promote 'fatphobia' in medicine

Mackenzie Bean - Print  | 

"Fatphobia" is a persistent issue in the medical field that is fueled — in part — by modern medical apparel brands, one physician wrote in an column for STAT.

Jennifer Adaeze Okwerekwu, MD, is a fourth-year psychiatry resident at the Cambridge (Mass.) Health Alliance and identifies herself as a plus-sized woman. During her medical training, Dr. Okwerekwu said she's witnessed many physicians get "torn down" for their weight due to a society that "equates fatness with moral failing."

In the column, Dr. Okwerekwu calls out medical apparel companies for only showing one body type in marketing materials, even though mainstream fashion brands are starting to be more inclusive of all body types.

"The reality is that physicians have all types of bodies," she wrote. "Embracing a more inclusive image of physicianhood that celebrates body inclusivity, acceptance and positivity will not only honor the diversity of the human experience, but also challenge the cultural assumptions that health and wellness cannot be promoted by a fat physician."

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