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Healthy Applicant

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by DenaliView, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. DenaliView

    DenaliView 2+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Does anyone have any thoughts or oppinions on if AdComms having issues with "unhealthy" looking applicants. Such as if someone comes into an interview with a BMI of 42. Do you think it could be a deciding factor for some applicants?? This is not an issue for me personally just something I was wondering about....
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  3. chessknt87

    chessknt87 Physician 10+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2007
    Depends on the interviewer IMO. Thin people have a really strong tendency to be biased against fat people since thin people generally work to take care of themselves and view fat people as inherently lazy. Fat people dont show a bias either way. So if you get a fat interviewer, no it wont matter; if you get a thin one, it might have a subconscious effect.
  4. scarletgirl777

    scarletgirl777 7+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    It might have a conscious effect. I have sat in on an interview for a fellowship where an interviewee was denied not because the interviewers were prejudiced about obese people, but 'other people' might not take her seriously :rolleyes:
  5. DenaliView

    DenaliView 2+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Whether it is right or wrong or right I will leave to you but their is a an element of hypocrisy in it. While we are all on our own continuum of health and it is not always possible to determine ones health by looking at them it is hard to tell individuals to be mindful of their diet because they are a borderline diabetic when the physician is very overweight.... I don’t believe their should be requirements in place but I could see how Adcomms might see this a less favorable quality….
  6. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    I've seen hundreds of commentaries written by interviewers and I've never seen anyone write about the applicant's weight. Granted, we see very few overweight applicants (and we don't ask for pictures beforehand). Once I had some doubts about an applicant who was very thin (anorexia nervosa?) but I didn't let that color my judgment and I recommended the applicant for admission.
  7. TexanGirl

    TexanGirl runs away from trees 5+ Year Member

    A BMI of 42 isn't simply overweight or obese. It's morbidly obese. That's maybe got to be above the 95th percentile for all adults.

    If I were an interviewer, I'd be concerned for the personal safety and health of the applicant.
  8. DenaliView

    DenaliView 2+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2008

    Thanks for the feedback, Smart, intelligent, & hardworking people come in all shapes and sizes and it is good that they do not get overlooked. It must be difficult to seperate an unhealthy lifesyle from the applicant when you are trying to look at the whole person.
  9. pianola

    pianola MS2 7+ Year Member

    May 23, 2008

    Yeah, at a BMI of 42, I think you're probably looking at ambulatory difficulties. I mean, you passed "obese" some 12 BMI points ago. I would probably be exhausted most of the time if I had to carry around that much weight.

    I would think.
  10. nontrdgsbuiucmd

    nontrdgsbuiucmd 2+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    my own little world
    I'd agree, could the applicant be on their feet for a 12 hour shift? If one's weight impacted one's ability to practice medicine, it could be an issue, schools require that one have the physical and mental ability to do what physicians do. I've carried 80 lbs for some distance, the additional stress on the back, legs, thighs etc for me was substantial, don't think I could have carried the weight for many hours even if it was evenly distributed.

    In my personal opinion, all aspects of a person's physical appearance to some extent will impact how they come across in an interview, including how the person dresses, is groomed, how they stand/slouch, eye contact, clear voice versus mumbling, how they smell (hopefully not an issue but imagine interviewing someone with a substantial "presence")etc. I would argue that there are possible physical reasons for just about any of these (bad back, throat cancer, excessive perspiration, lazy eye, etc). Part of the reason all these superficial things matter is that at the interview, a person presumably is on their very best behavior and appearance. If I had a BMI above 40, I'd casually mention at the interview how I had started exercising to reduce stress or in some way convey a high energy level.
  11. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Agreed. The issue isn't what adcoms think of the person's weight. It is whether objectively the person would be able to manage the requirements of med school. Many schools directly ask if a person has health issues that might impact one's ability to do the various tasks required in med school. It is in the person's best interest to be aware of his/her limitations, and seek whatever accomodations might be necessary, and not get into a situation where they are doomed to fail.

    Med school is not like college -- you won't be sitting in a classroom after the second year. I would point out that in 3rd year, you will in most rotations be doing walking rounds, which means that you will be on your feet walking through the wards of the hospital for as much as 4 hours in a row, following the residents or attendings, many of whom exclusively use the stairwells and not the elevators, regularly hustling up and down 5-6 flights of stairs. And the attendings/senior residents tend to set the pace, so inevitably you will be hustling to keep up. In surgeries, you will be on your feet holding retractors or limbs for as much as 8 hours in a row; your feet will be sore and your back will ache even if you are in decent shape; probably worse if you are carrying excess baggage. And you will have overnight calls where you will be doing scut all night for 25-30 hours in a row, which can put a lot of stress on your body. So yeah, I'd have some serious concerns for an applicant that was morbidly obese. Not in terms of an adcom accepting them, but if accepted, whether they would be biting off more than they could chew (pardon the bad pun).
  12. bcat85

    bcat85 10+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2007
    Sounds like a reliable weight loss plan to me.

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