Mum shares how her son was fat-shamed by a doctor while getting a new prescription for asthma medication.

Jo Abi wrote on 9Honey that her nine year old son, has suffered from asthma since he was two.

She also explained that Giovanni also has autism, and it was diagnosed late at age seven.

As many parents of children with special needs will realise, food issues are very common with children on the spectrum.

When Jo went to the GP for a new asthma prescription, the last thing she said she expected was to be lectured about Giovanni’s weight.

Jo said, “I sat in shock as the doctor, with a grim expression on his face, weighed my son, measured his height and printed off a series of charts designed to alarm me about my son’s weight.”

“I was furious.

“My son has autism. He has food sensitivities. I am aware of his weight, but that’s the least of his issues. I’m here for asthma medication, not a lecture about his weight.

“And I stomped out, shaking.”

Jo continued, “He didn’t know I’d been told by Giovanni’s food therapist NOT to mention his weight and to allow him to make his food choices.

“My role was to support my son, offer him a variety of foods and give him the space to figure such things out for himself.”

Jo added, “My son’s weight is the least interesting thing about him, and the least of his problems. More importantly, it’s not why I was at the doctor’s in the first place.”

Do you think this mum is right to be angry OR was the doctor just doing his job?

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  • I’m a bit divided on this one. I understand the mothers feelings however I also think it’s the dr job to point out the obvious.


  • I think the doctor was merely doing his job – the complete details of this young man’s past should have been there for the doctor to be aware of, but if he is a new doctor that the mother had gone to, then it was up to her to advise of her son’s condition before going into the appointment. How else would the doctor have known he wasn’t dealing with an ordinary obese child?


  • he is doing his job and simply stating facts. it was not just a passing comment just for the sake of making conversation. It was in regards to a child’s state of health and surely being a healthy weight would help to ease the symptoms of asthma. Don’t tell me that we are pushing for a world where we want doctor’s to lie to us about the state of our health?


  • It might hurt to hear it, but I’m sure the GP has the child’s best interests at heart – I think calling it “fat shaming” is being a bit dramatic, if it can’t be discussed in the privacy of an appointment when should it be?


  • Needs to be TOTAL and up to date communications between ALL who are involved in any team when it comes to health care. I am wondering if that doctor knew the above what their response would have been in this situation. Would they have supported this mother and given a repeat of the medications needed? I would hope so.
    An afterthought, I am presuming that all these issues are on Giovanni’s notes on the computer, if that is the case then why is it that this doctor did not note those issues and treat his patient accordingly?


  • maybe the gp could have approached it differently, maybe the mum could have responded differently


  • GP’s do have a duty of care to patients and this is not the first time I have read a story like this one regarding weight. It can be confronting and the story is short and lacking details so it is hard to get the full picture.


  • Think indeed it might not be nice and confronting to hear, but when it is true it can be of concern health wise and a good GP should look to the total of a person. When the food therapist has a certain strategy it would be good that this person also communicates this to the GP.


  • I was told by my GP that according to the BMI scale I am obese. It’s not nice to hear, but it’s true. I believe this doctor was just telling this woman the truth. From the article she doesn’t place too much importance on her son’s weight, but maybe his weight might be contributing to his other health issues.


  • Like other moms it’s hard to comment on …the dr may have had the child’s best interest at heart but he maybe should have approached it better.


  • I wasn’t there but without knowing a full history or background, the Dr had no knowledge of whether the childs eating habits had already been discussed and they were trying to address the issue. On that basis, the Dr bringing up the concerns is warranted. Weight issues can cause a lot of health concerns


  • I do think te doctor was trying to do his job well.


  • It sound’s like he was doing his job but l wasn’t there so it is hard to say.


  • I think the doctor could have found a much better way to bring it up but at the end of they day the doctor was acting in the best interest of the child. No real need to overreact. Just don’t go back to that doctor.


  • I feel the Doctor was just doing his job as weight concerns can cause varying health issues BUT, it could have addressed in the conversation during the course of the consultation after discussing the reason for the appointment and certainly not by proceeding to take it upon himself to weigh the child and print out reports/graphs. Very insensitive and invasive!


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