White Coat Wellness Podcast | Episode 11
Understanding the Disease of Obesity

With Fatima Cody Stanford, MD



Obesity is not a simple issue, as many of us have been conditioned to think. And unfortunately, this misconception is prevalent in the medical community even today as there is a lack of education about this topic in schools. Because of these, people carrying excessive weight have been shamed, oftentimes even by the professionals in-charge of giving treatment and care. (07:11)

On this episode of White Coat Wellness, Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford dives deep into the disease of obesity and how complex this condition really is. Wanting to become a physician at a young age, Dr. Stanford worked in public health and public administration and is now an Obesity Medicine Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. She authored Facing Overweight and Obesity, a Guide for Children and Adults, a resource book on obesity and the different aspects of this condition that go beyond the physical. 

Dr. Stanford shares that obesity is more than just a lifestyle choice. (16:15) It’s a debilitating illness often caused by many underlying issues, some of which are never addressed by medical practitioners in the first place. (16:54) It’s best not to take everything upon surface value – your patients may be eating right and exercising regularly, yet are still suffering from being overweight or obese. There’s a story behind the condition and patients will tell you about it, and your job as their doctor is to listen. (22:34)

You also have to be aware of things that you’re subconsciously doing that discourage people with obesity, like using stigmatizing language and using items in your office that don’t emphasize their weight. (19:00) The right messaging must be used when addressing obesity and the treatment options, being mindful of any weight bias that we may have. (26:13)

Public policy around obesity is also underway, as Dr. Stanford also talks about the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act. If enacted into law, more patients who meet the necessary criteria will be able to get the treatment and medications needed, at a more affordable price. (28:21)

Taking away the shame and blame that obesity brings starts with each person, and you can certainly change any personal biases towards people carrying excess weight. This will turn you into a champion for your patient, which is what they need to conquer this disease.

This week’s White Coat Wisdom is all about the savings snowball and how you can capitalize on opportunities to save more money. Saving takes discipline, and you can help yourself out by setting up automatic deductions that go straight into your savings, similar to automatic debts done for your bills. This will help you grow your savings, especially if you’ve just finished a long-term monthly payment scheme.

A LinkedIn Top Voice Award in the Healthcare category, Dr. Louis Profeta is featured in this week’s White Coat Achievement segment. He is an Emergency Medicine Physician in Indianapolis, Indiana who wrote 3 of the most read and shared articles on LinkedIn in 2017. These tackle national issues that are affecting college campus, including the opioid epidemic, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual assault.


About the WCW Podcast

The White Coat Wellness podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentist to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice.

Shane Tenny, CFP® is our podcast host and Partner at SDT. He has lectured numerous times for hospitals and physician groups and, most importantly, helped hundreds of clients develop strategies to navigate through turbulent times toward their financial goals.

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