President Obama announced Dr. Regina Benjamin as his nominee for Surgeon General in the White House Rose Garden last week. (PHOTO CREDIT: TIM SLOAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
In a nation where more than one-third of adults are obese - the president is coming under fire for his selection of an overweight surgeon general.
ABC News reports that Although Dr. Regina Benjamin has been praised for her top credentials - like creating a medical clinic for the poor after Hurricane Katrina - many believe that Benjamin's appearance sends the wrong message as the nation's top doctor. It is estimated that Benjamin is as much as 40 pounds overweight.
The Department of Health and Human Services insists that Benjamin is highly qualified, saying: "She is a role model for all of us, and will be an outstanding surgeon general."
And supporters suggest her job is to make health care decisions - not to look good. They say her size might help her better understand the problem of obesity. Some health experts highlight studies that show it's possible to be fat and healthy, while others say the president himself - who still smokes cigarettes - isn't the best role model for good health either.
But - there's no doubt obesity is a growing crisis that's costing the U.S. billions of dollars a year. Fat people are at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer among other things. Critics also point out that Benjamin could set a better example for the black community - where obesity is even more prevalent.
Here’s my question to you: What message does it send if the surgeon general of the U.S. is overweight?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Susan from Idaho writes:
The message it sends is that not everyone is a size two. C. Everett Koop wasn’t exactly Tiny Tim. I've known nurses on drugs and doctors who were alcoholics. If whoever takes the post focuses on good child health care and abolition of substance abuse I will be happy with that.
Brad from Memphis, Tennessee writes:
It means you're an idiot. It means that you're paying attention to the wrong thing. Fat people aren't stupid, we're fat. We are just as smart as our skinny counterparts and it means that as usual you are looking at the veneer instead of looking for qualifications.
John from Fort Collins, Colorado writes:
Dr. Benjamin should be the new surgeon general, but be put on probationary status with the condition she must set an example to the nation by losing 40-pounds during her first year on the job. In addition, President Obama should set an example by quitting smoking. Weight loss and smoking cessation in this country would be an inexpensive way to eliminate billions in health care costs.
Mari from Salt Lake City writes:
Well, Jack, since more than 30-percent of Americans are obese, the new surgeon general can launch a credible campaign to "thin out America"! Only an obese person can really speak to this problem, and know full well how difficult it is to fight the addiction to food. Having fought this battle myself, I know that being obese is much more than just about what you eat. It's about "what's eating you"!
I do think it sends the wrong message… But, at this point, if Obama would decide to withdraw his nomination, then we will have all sorts of people crying out that it's discriminating because of her weight and maybe even racism. We just can't win can we?
Arlene from Illinois writes:
As a plus-size woman, I say how dare you even ask that question!
Dave from Brooklyn, New York writes:
Physician, heal thyself?