During a recent episode of the Dr. Phil show that aired on 9/23/11 Dr Phil made the following comment to the mother of a young man who was overweight:
“My way of looking at this is that you buy the food, present the food, prepare the food; you are the gatekeeper on the food. So you are complicit in this. You understand that his life is in danger at 555 pounds,” Dr. Phil persists, listing medical complications Alex may develop, including rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension and heart attack.
I agree with him when he says that obesity can cause health issues, however it DOES NOT cause RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS. I wish he had done his research, because if he had, then we would have known that rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints. Autoimmune diseases are not caused by poor eating habits or obesity.
As it is, rheumatoid arthritis is a very misunderstood disease, and unfortunately Dr. Phil’s statements which were heard by millions of viewers, only served to add to the confusion surrounding this disease. I would hope that he will take head to the outcry from many of us in the RA community as we ask him to make a public correction to his incorrect statements about RA.