– You cannot look at a person with obesity through the prism of their appearance – says Prof. Paweł Bogdański. And he explains what every doctor should say to a patient suffering from obesity.
Katarzyna Świerczyńska, “Wprost”: Is body positivity a good trend from a doctor’s point of view?
Prof. Paweł Bogdański*: The very fact that we show and normalize different bodies in public space, encouraging people to treat themselves and their bodies kindly and not to judge others, is good. But as a doctor, I also see a certain danger in body positivity, because if we think that – ok, I’m obese, but I look great, so I won’t do anything about it, it’s no longer good.
To put it another way, the danger arises when we reduce our body only to its appearance.
Then a person suffering from obesity may decide that there is no need to seek help?
Exactly. I will give a comparison that I hope will make this clear. Let’s imagine a cancer patient with a lesion that is visible and looks bad. It’s great that we don’t judge such a person for their appearance, we accept it. But should we say: hey, you look great, it’s great that you accept yourself as you are, so you don’t have to undergo treatment.
It’s good if we accept our body, but it does not relieve us of the responsibility for treatment. This comparison of obesity and cancer may be brutal, but in my opinion it is the quintessence of what I consider dangerous in body positivity and distorts its meaning.
An obese patient comes to you. What do you think about him? And how do you talk about him?