Hunter McGrady calls out fatphobia in the medical field
The fat bias is a very, very real thing and its prevalence can be found in every corner of life – fashion, the entertainment industry, the wellness industry and, as the supermodel and mom Hunter McGrady, in the medical field too. Highligths.
In a new Instagram post, Hunter McGrady draws attention to “big phobia in the medical field” and not just how damaging it is, but how hypocritical and incoherent these harmful posts are.
“T/W: medical fatphobia,” she captioned, accompanying a series of photos of the model at different points in her life and height. “Scroll down to see all the versions of myself who have experienced grossophobia in the medical field.”
“I was always told to lose weight,” she continues. “I was always told that any disease I had was due to weight. Even the thinnest, the BMI scale decided that I was too fat, even though every test, every vital was good to do, he wasn’t good enough in their eyes.”
Fat and weight biases are pervasive in medicine, according to a 2019 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This type of bias stems from a lack of education about obesity in medical education, let alone education about the weight biases and stigmas associated with obesity and the mental impact of these biases on those who have been diagnosed with obesity.
“Obesity is a complex disease that cannot be reduced to the ‘calories in/out’ mantra that has become commonplace,” writes Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, FAAP, FACP, FTOS, in the Harvard Health Blog . “Factors that can contribute to weight can include biological issues such as genetics and hormonal changes that accompany aging; developmental issues such as parental obesity; psychological issues such as depression or a history of trauma; or environmental factors, such as large portions. And these are just a few of a myriad of possible contributors.”
Fat activist Aubrey Gordon, writer and co-host of the popular podcast Maintenance phaseactually refuses to use the term “fatphobia” because it excuses the discriminatory attitude of anti-fatness as a mental condition – which it is not.
“People with anti-fat attitudes do not see themselves as ‘afraid’ of obesity or obese people,” she writes for Self. “Fatphobia denotes a fear of fat, but as the most proudly anti-fat will tell you, they are not afraid of us. They just hate us.”
Hunter McGrady says that when she and her sister, Michaela, posted about anti-fat in the medical field, they received “thousands of messages from women all over the world of all shapes and sizes” who shared their own discriminatory stories.
On her podcast, The Model Citizen, the McGrady sisters dive into the subject and share more of their own personal stories.
While the burden of educating medical providers about fat bias shouldn’t fall on patients, one way to be proactive about it is to carry things like “Don’t Weigh Me” cards. These cards, created by More-Love.org, are a polite and respectful way to state your doctor’s office preference for yourself or your child.
And as long as people like Hunter McGrady use their platform for this conversation, moms everywhere will feel seen and heard.