(Trinidad Guardian) Former Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan is standing behind the message he communicated to plus-sized masquerader Candice Santana on Friday when he called her out for being obese and overweight, as he again urged her to get fit and healthy.
While he is ready to apologise for the “harsh tone and some strong words” used during the two and a half minute long video he posted on social media on the issue, Khan yesterday stood by the “the substance of the statements.”
Dismissing claims his video was an attempt to fat-shame Santana, Khan said he was more concerned about the growing epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) engulfing T&T.
“Many large women came out at Carnival because 70 per cent of Trinidad’s women are fat. The signs of overweight on the road is a symptom of a greater disease of obesity. Women should stop looking for excuses of being thick, plus-size to hide obesity,” Khan said.
“Check your numbers and your weight. Let us get fit for 2020.”
Asked if he was concerned his comments may cost him votes in the next general election, Khan said, “I will not stand idle looking for votes, saying things of sweetness while the NCD epidemic grows, destroying all in its path and being swept under the carpet by statements like fat acceptance and fat shaming.”
He added, “Those words are so hollow, like all ah we is one and segregation occurs all the time. I will not crawl on my belly to appease women only to get their votes while they are over-eating, over-drinking and not exercising. Too much sugar and fats.”
Referring to his time in office when he took up the challenge to reduce NCDs, Khan said, “The children of our country are already on the road to obesity and early heart and kidney failure.”
In his video, Khan said, “As a former Minister of Health, I am extremely concerned about the Diabetic Type 2 diseases and also the high cholesterol in our young people because of obesity and overweight, so when you come on and start to speak about fat shaming in society…just shut up because it is not a fat-shaming society if you have big aprons around your waist…your arms are hanging and all that type of thing. That is obesity….that is a disease.”
Yesterday, Khan said he intends to continue his personal quest for fitness and healthy living as he declared himself to be the “obesity terminator.”
Santana appeared on CNC3’s Morning Brew on Friday and spoke about body positivity and the culture of fat shaming in T&T, as she recalled her experience on the road for Carnival Tuesday and the comments which had come after she posted pictures of herself in costume online. Detailing encounters she had experienced with masqueraders and spectators alike and how their comments affected her, Santana’s upbeat attitude and sense of confidence resonated with viewers, who took to social media to encourage her to stand up for plus-sized women.
Although Khan derogatorily referred to Santana as a “tub” in the video, she yesterday said she held no ill-will or malice towards Khan. She wrote on her FaceBook page, “My reaction, I watched that video, forgave him for the harsh words dished out at me. I look myself in the mirror and remind myself that I am beautiful inside and outside. I also remind myself that this is an opportunity to show love and not get caught up in any negativity.”
Santana encouraged others to pursue a healthy lifestyle and ensure they had a balanced diet coupled with exercise as part of their daily regimen.