E-mail to Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Phil
January 30, 2001

Dear Oprah and Dr. Phil,

Shame on you! Your program “get real with fat” was disgraceful!

Oprah you know better than most, intuitively, that being overweight is not one’s fault, in most cases, obesity is a “medical” disease, not a sublimation or excuse for low self esteem.

No one “chooses” to be fat, anymore than Dr. Phil “chooses” to be bald! Obesity has a significant “genetic” predisposition, 75-80% based on scientific medical studies. (I believe 90%).

Sure, some overweight people are overeaters, and others make poor food choices; however the HANES study which evaluated the eating habits of 22,000 obese people found that they ate no more than their normal weight counterparts.

The major difference between obesity and other diseases that are also genetic, metabolic, progressive and chronic, like diabetes and hypertension, is that obesity cannot be hidden from those around you or the mirror in front of you!

As a bariatrician, the first thing I tell my patients is that being overweight/obese is “not their fault”, whereas you blame them for not being “grounded” or lacking “spirit”. Unfair and untrue!

Come to think of it, Dr. Phil, you look like you could stand to lose 15-20 lbs. Don’t worry, I forgive you; because it’s not your fault!

Robert Skversky, M.D.


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