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February 24, 1991

Regarding "The Tyranny of Size," by doctors Michael S. Wilkes and Miriam Shuchman (Jan. 13): People are discriminated against in nearly every walk of life--employment, education, taking out a loan, adopting a child, even renting an apartment. But their single most common complaint is the way in which they've been treated by their doctors. Many refuse to see a doctor for any reason. Some, having met too many physicians of the "take two aspirin and lose 50 pounds" school, feel that the only treatment they're likely to get is a lecture. Others report that the doctor who treats them with care and compassion while they are losing weight turns cold and disinterested when they regain it.

Doctors Wilkes and Shuchman have done a great service by conveying the latest information on obesity to their readers. They would do a far greater service by encouraging their colleagues to put those findings into practice. We are in desperate need of a new medical specialty: one that would treat fat people as people, not as nutritional guinea pigs. No diet will cure the ills of the obese. What they need is informed, unprejudiced, individualized medical care.

KARL J. NIEDERSHUH

Chester, Pa.

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