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Yes, Size Matters--Editorial

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Obesity related image Photo: Getty Images

However, when asked about her weight issues in interviews, she rationalizes by focusing on her treadmill endurance and her goal of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. "The goal isn't to lose weight," Benjamin frequently says. "It's to be healthy and enjoy it."

Same skeleton...with and without excess fat.
Take a look at this picture of a body with and without excessive fat. It's painful just looking at it. And, Benjamin doesn't have a weight loss goal? Really? Not even 5-10% of her body weight? What kind of a message is this? What if Obama said that the goal was not to stop smoking but to be healthy? The subliminal message: Its okay to be overweight, oops, obese.

Just to be clear: We shouldn't judge her on whether or not she actually loses weight. The reality is that Benjamin is unlikely to ever achieve a normal BMI just like Obama is likely to "fall off the wagon" within 6-12 months, But, she should walk the talk and face the facts. No excuses. No rationalizing.

Too personal? Not anyone's business? Am I being too harsh? Clearly an opinion some of you may have right now. Okay...regardless of whether she conquers her own weight problem or talks about, she should at least be straightforward with the the public about the health risks associated with obesity.

During Benjamin's confirmation hearings, she said, "being healthy and being fit is not about a dress size. It's about how fit you are at that moment in time." And, in a January 7, 2011 interview in the NYT Magazine, Benjamin said, "My thought is that people should be healthy and be fit at whatever size they are."

Translation for the American public: "It okay to be fat. The Surgeon General said so."

Benjamin's position is supported by data that shows that cardiorespiratory fitness (defined as exercise capacity) is a strong and independent predictor of cardiovascular disease mortality and may mitigate the increased risk of death associated with obesity. In other words, she is promoting the perspective that overweight people who are "fit" may be healthier than those who are thin but sedentary.

Don't get too excited and start eating more Twinkies.

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Interesting connection to BMI. A recent study with mild/moderate depression patients also found a significant link between depression (onset/duration/TRD) and a patient BMI over 30. It seems that patients with elevated BMI are often deficient in folate status (several studies). This is perhaps the first significant biomarker the will help physicians more effectively treat depression. Experts unveiled and discussed these principles during 2011 U.S. Psych Congress (November, Las Vegas). Use of the active form of folate (L-methylfolate) has been shown to overcome such a folate deficiency and spur the increased production of all three mood neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Your thoughts?

December 13, 2011 - 12:41pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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