Caring, Skilled Professionals Best Suited to Treat Obesity

Letter to the Editor

In response to New York Times, "Invitation to a Dialogue: Talking About Obesity," 6/24


To the editor:


In her recent letter, "Invitation to a Dialogue: Talking About Obesity," (6/24) Carol Weston sparked an important conversation about the very serious need to address childhood and adolescent obesity.


While Ms. Weston's general sentiment is well intentioned, she overlooks several complexities. Obesity is a chronic disease, yet she speaks of "obese people" as if obesity is an identity rather than a health condition. Everyone deserves the respect of being considered as a person first, not a condition or a disability. 


Further, research demonstrates severe childhood obesity is a medical condition that benefits from the skilled care of healthcare professionals, not well-intended strangers. Advising others to offer unsolicited advice may only compound the problem.


Despite her well-intentioned efforts, Ms. Weston’s approach is counterproductive. As the leading scientific society for the treatment and prevention of obesity, The Obesity Society strongly recommends that severe childhood and adolescent obesity be addressed, and treated, by those most suited: caring, skilled professionals.




Steven R. Smith, MD

The Obesity Society President

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