A doctor on This Morning claimed wearing a five stone fat suit made her realise how ‘difficult and frustrating’ it must be to be obese – and admitted it’s made her more empathetic towards overweight patients.
Last week we reported how German scientists claimed patients should wear ‘fat suits’ to teach medical students not to discriminate against obese people.
The researchers said the stigma attached to obesity means fat patients are often treated with less respect by medical professionals, and they believe obesity simulation suits could help teach doctors to be more respectful.
To test out the theory, Dr Zoe Williams, 39, wore the suit for a typical day, during which she went to work and to the gym to do a circuits workout.
This Morning doctor Zoe Williams claimed wearing a five stone fat suit made her realise how ‘difficult and frustrating’ it must be to be obese
Dr Zoe admitted the experience has made her more empathetic towards overweight patients
She admitted just walking around was ‘really quite tough’ as she felt ‘pressure on her joints’, and even felt ‘offended’ by an article in a newspaper about obesity.
‘I feel like I’ve already done a work out,’ she said as she arrived at the gym, where her trainer put her through her paces.
Afterwards, during a discussion with This Morning hosts Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes and guest Steve Miller, aka the weightloss guru, Dr Zoe said the experience had made her feel more empathy towards overweight people.
‘It allowed me to just see that I actually had weight bias that I wasn’t aware of,’ she explained.
Steve Miller (right) argued that the money spent on the £2,000 suits is a waste and would be better off going towards dementia care
Dr Zoe said wearing the suit made her realise she had ‘weight bias’ that she wasn’t aware of
‘If I think back to when I was first at medical school, I wasn’t as empathetic as I am now. I think that this can make a difference.’
But Steve, who has lost four stone, strongly disagreed, claiming the money spent on the £2,000 suits is a waste and would be better off going towards dementia care.
He said Brits are ‘too kind’ and have an ’empathy as deep as the Pacific ocean’ when it comes to looking after people and helping them to lose weight.
‘In this country we are terrified of telling people the truth because of fat shaming, for example,’ he argued.
Dr Zoe said it must take so much ‘extra motivation’ to get to the gym, but Steve was adamant that we are ‘too soft on fat’ as a nation
‘From a doctor’s point of view, I think you doctors are terrified to tell people they’re fat, to tell people the truth.’
Dr Zoe countered: ‘I think that a lot of GPs are terrified of raising the topic of weight, and I think the conversation should move on from “should we be raising the topic of weight”, because we should, but “how do we do it, in a way that is kind”.’
She added that wearing the suit made her reflect on the use of the word ‘lazy’ which is often used to describe obese people, and said it’s a ‘ridiculous’ thing to say because ‘there is nothing about spending your day-to-day life carrying that amount of weight that is lazy’.
Dr Zoe wore the suit for a typical day, during which she went to work and to the gym to do a circuits workout
Dr Zoe said it must take so much ‘extra motivation’ to get to the gym, but Steve was adamant that we are ‘too soft on fat’ as a nation.
‘There is a massive proportion of people out there that are too lazy, not just in terms of exercise, but their habits in [their mind],’ he said.
‘There are many people that need to be told like this: “You’re too fat, you need to sort it out or you’ll be dead of cancer.”‘
The debate left viewers divided, with some favouring Steve’s no-nonsense approach and others feeling it was abrasive.
Many felt the fat suits were indeed a waste of money, with one tweeting: ‘Spending £2K a pop on fat suits so doctors can identify with obese people #stoptheworld.’
The debate left viewers divided, with some favouring Steve’s no-nonsense approach towards the fat suits
And one sarcastic viewer commented: ‘Yeah let’s make junior doctors empathetic for fat people. So if someone comes in with a gun shot wound let’s shoot the junior doctors in the head first so they can be empathetic also.’
‘I honestly think doctors wearing fat suits is just degrading to those who have weight issues and encourages fat shaming once again,’ another wrote.
But others were more sympathetic towards Dr Zoe’s argument, with one tweeting: ‘Steve Miller is an absolute joke, it’s cruel to attack overweight people and assume that they are lazy. Health, mental health and certain medications can all cause weight gain and calling people fat and lazy is not on!’
Another asked: ‘How’s this guy a weight loss guru thinking you should just be able to say to someone, “You’re too fat, you need to sort it out, or you will be dead of cancer probably”?’
Other viewers were more sympathetic towards Dr Zoe’s argument, and felt Steve’s approach towards obese people was too harsh