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Medical Activism Resources

Compiled by Lynn McAfee

Here is a beginning list of resources and ideas that can be helpful in medical activism. There are tens of thousands of resources available; the hardest part is figuring out what information you absolutely need to complete your project.
Remember, you are already an expert on the most important aspect of the project: a fat body!

First, remember that you don’t need to do hours and hours of research to get the information you need. Sometimes less is more. Too much research can leave you confused and intimidated.

The public library is a good place to start for basic information. Don’t look just for books; most of the current information may be in periodicals, so check the periodicals indexes. Research is much easier on the web. Even if you don’t own a computer, many public libraries offer free computer time: check it out! Almost all medical libraries are open to the public. Call ahead. Identify yourself and ask when the public can use the library, and what the rules are, as well as whether any training is available in doing Medline searches for medical information. Librarians usually try hard to be helpful, but don’t expect them to do the searches for you.



Healthy Weight Journalhttp://www.healthyweightnetwork.com. Excellent nondiet journal for health care professionals, but written in plain language. $59 year (6 issues). BC Decker Inc., P.O. Box 785, Lewiston, NY 14092, 800-568-7281. HWJ devoted their entire September/October issue to "Helping the Large Patient." This one issue is available for $15.

Obesity Medications and Research News
http://www.obesity-news.com. Comprehensive monthly reports on recent obesity research, especially pharmaceutical research. Technical, but understandable. $60 year. OMR, P.O. Box 19316, Alexandria, VA 22320, 703-960-3649.

American Dietetic Association Consumer Nutrition Hotline—Call 900-255-5267 to get customized answers to food and nutrition questions. You will speak to a registered dietician, who can help you find your way through health and nutrition "miracle" claims. $1.95 for the first minute and $.95 for each additional minute. Well worth the money.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/, the database maintained by the National Library of Medicine, is now free to the public. Search for medical articles on any subject. Most have abstracts available.

"Health on the Net" Foundation sponsors http://www.hon.ch/HomePage/Home-Page.html. It offers links to medical sites, hospitals, and support groups. Good consumer information on a variety of medical issues is also at http://www.achoo.com/. A very readable site.

Doctor’s Guide to the Internet—Diabetes: http://www.pslgroup.com/diabetes.htm. Excellent, comprehensive site. Includes lots of links and resources, as well as all the recent medical press releases related to diabetes. Another readable professional site is http://ipn.intelihealth.com/ipn/ihtIPN. You can search both these sites for any medical topic.

Drug Information—A good resource for looking up drugs by category and getting information in plain English on medical questions—
http://www.thriveonline.com/health/library/lookitup.drugs.html. The Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR), gives prescription drug information. It will help you decide what you want your doctor to explain. (Pharmacists can also answer questions about drugs you’ve been prescribed and drug interaction.)

Plus Size Pregnancy
http://www.teleport.com/~rvireday/plus/. Resources for pregnant women of size, including links to relevant health sites and a large section on gestational diabetes.

Toll-free numbers of organizations that provide health information are at http://nhicnt.health.org/Scripts/Tollfree.cfm.

Mary McGhee is a long-time fat activist whose web pages offer links to many fat-acceptance resources, social change organizing tools, and medical activism resources. Her sites put you in a "change-the-world" state of mind! Check out
http://www.wolfenet.com/~marymc/fatacc.htm and http://www.wolfenet.com/~marymc/tools.htm.

Up-to-date links to resources for fat people, including medical resources and medical equipment (often called bariatric equipment), can be found at http://www.sizewise.com/IHWIDTD-links.htm. This is Judy Sullivan’s wonderful web site, a companion to her print book Sizewise (Avon Books: 1997).

New England Journal of Medicine editorial on the failure of dieting and the controversy surrounding obesity and health. "Losing Weight—An Ill-Fated New Year’s Resolution." Check your public library or print from the web site http://www.nejm.org/content/1998/0338/0001/0052.asp. Make your doctor read this!

Archives of Family Medicine (Arch Fam Med) vol. 7, July/August 1998, pages 381–86 contains a study documenting the relationship between delay of gynecological care and body weight ("Body Weight and Health Care Among Women in the General Population"). Abstract is available at 
, but get the complete article from the library: it’s worth the trip. A wonderfully compassionate editorial follows the article.

Delay and avoidance of medical care by fat women is documented in another Arch Fam Med article by C. L. Olson et al., 1994; 3:888–92. It finds that 32 percent of women with a BMI of 27 or more delayed or avoided health care based on concerns about being weighed. Abstract is available at 

Get the complete article at the library.

Amplestuff is one-stop shopping for many special needs, including hospital gowns, reacher sticks, and large blood pressure cuffs. It also prints an informative newsletter. P.O. Box 116, Bearsville, NY 12409, 914-679-3316. Information is also available at http://www.amplestuff.com.

Home Health Care makes hospital beds for people up to 1,000 pounds, including a queen-size hospital bed, and carries other "bariatric" equipment. The Council on Size & Weight Discrimination receives a donation for every sale they generate. Call toll-free 877-574-3233 and mention the CSWD.


Ed. Note: Readers, please send your ideas for helpful medical and activism resources (either on-line or not) to Lynn McAfee at Lynnweb@hotmail.com, or write to her c/o CSWD, P.O. Box 305, Mt. Marion, NY 12456. We will continue to share this information with you in Radiance throughout the year.


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