Can a Size 18 Surgeon General Inspire a Fat Nation?
No: Benjamin can inspire those of above-average weight
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 15, 2009 12:47 PM CDT
Dr. Regina Benjamin, an Alabama family physician, speaks following an announcement by President Barack Obama of his intention to nominate her as the surgeon general, Monday, July 13, 2009.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
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(Newser) – Regina Benjamin is supremely qualified to be surgeon general—except on one count, argue some: “The anti-fat brigade wonder if a country plagued by obesity should have an above average-weight woman speaking to public health,” writes Frances Kissling in Salon. Yes, we should, Kissling says. Countless Americans are trying to gain dignity and lose weight, and “having a confident, big-bodied and big-spirited woman” as surgeon general can inspire them.

“It's good to know that even doctors struggle with their weight—and lead full and active lives in spite of adversity,” Kissling notes. As the Sonia Sotomayor hearings have reinforced, President Obama seems committed in his nominees to “the idea of bringing into public life those whose experience enhances empathy rather than disdain for ordinary people.”