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A Matter of Justice: “Fat” Is Not Necessarily a Bad Word
Abstract: This essay argues that the discrimination that fat patients face is an issue of health justice. Insofar as this is the case, bioethicists and health care providers should not only care about it but also work to dismantle the systematic, institutional, social, and individual factors that are contributing to it to ensure that fat patients receive high-quality health care, free of stigma and discrimination. The essay discusses a variety of ways in which fat patients are discriminated against and considers the false assumptions that fuel such discrimination. It concludes by considering the structural and social issues that contribute to fatness and pushes health care providers to abandon the assumption that being fat is an individual moral failing. Ultimately, the paper argues, “fat” is not necessarily a bad word, nor one that health care providers should avoid.