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Obesity in the news

Last week I read that a man (LaPointe, 430 lbs), was released from jail because they did not have facilities large enough for him to sleep in, or sit at a table. This week I hear that the Canadian supreme court has ruled that obese people are disabled, and airlines have to provide them with two seats for the price of one.... How about, now let's call cigarette addiction a disability and provide the smokers with their own airplane? And incontinence must surely be a disability, so let's set them up with toilets on every aisle? You see how slippery the slope can be.

At what point, I ask, are people responsible for their own decisions and actions? Can people not be held responsible for their own obesity? I hold myself responsible for the state and condition of MY body. I hold myself responsible for the damages that I do using my body. While I do have compassion for people who have limitations, everyone is responsible for their choices, and the law exists to hold people responsible when they do not take responsibility on their own. The choices that add up to morbid obesity are just that, choices. If a person has a hormonal issue that causes them to gain weight, they need treatment for it. Not a free pass to be dangerous and obnoxious with the claim that they are too fat to help it. If they can't afford treatment, maybe they should save up some of the dough they spend on caloric intake and put it to another use.

In this article they open with a discussion of an obese man (Mathisen, 380 lbs) who killed his wife (165 lbs) by kneeling on her during an argument. She had recently confessed cheating, and asked for a divorce. He is appealing a murder finding based on his obesity. The article also mentions an obese woman (800-1,000 lbs) who is charged with beating her son to death. The defense is that she is too fat to move her arms.

"The number of severely obese - people whose body mass index is greater than 40 - make up the fastest growing population of obesity... there are now 1.5 million severely obese people in Canada." ...

The fat people complain that they get poor treatment from healthcare professionals, and that wages are lower and jobs are harder go get... I'm sure it's true, in some cases.

It appears to me that employment discrimination against obese people is reasonable and justified. If a person had puncture wounds up and down their veins, an employer would be wise to guess that there might be a drug addiction at play that could affect job performance. If a person is morbidly obese, it is the same sort of sign that a person may well have a food addiction, an endocrine disorder, or an emotional issue that could impact job performance. Better to choose an employee whose physical plant is in good working order.


Dec. 6th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
My gut reaction was the same as yours. Does claiming obesity as a disability mean the person will also get disability benefits from the government? A disabled parking permit so they don't have to haul their huge ass any further than necessary to get into the store?

I don't think the individual is entirely to blame. OK, I do think they are to blame for making poor decisions and getting to where they are. And I really don't buy addiction as an excuse for anything, considering I have kicked three addictions in my life. I do, however, believe the governments and food manufacturers have some responsiblity for the failing health of people in Western countries.The governments for giving wrong information to the public for decades (the food pyramid, low-fat diets, etc.) and the food manufacturers for capitalizing on highly processed, addictive foods that cause obesity and illness. Also, some blame needs to be laid at the feet of the health establishments, for blatantly ignoring nutrition and exercise as the keys to optimum health.
Dec. 7th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
I agree with you that restaurants, government, corporate food providers, grocery stores etc have not helped people to understand what are healthy food choices, and what are not. There is a lot of cash to be made from keeping us addicted to cheaply made "food". Even without such assistance SOME OF US have educated ourselves on the matter anyway.

I'm not saying that those who have not learned how to manage their weight are stupid, but they are misinformed, and many of them are militantly so. It's hard to admit that you are wrong. It reminds me of the willful ignorance exerted by many in our country with regard to foreign relations...the idea that America is the GREATEST nation on earth and there's no point in going anywhere else, is similar in my view to the idea that FAT IS BEAUTIFUL and there is absolutely nothing wrong with being fat.

From a medical perspective there is plenty wrong with being fat. It's been thoroughly documented that poor diet and inactivity contribute to more death than all other causes of death combined in the US. But ask a fat person about that....and they won't know. They don't want to know....Denial is one of the strongest forces operating in the human psyche.



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