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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. 12th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
I want to start out by agreeing with you - we are indeed each responsible for our own bodies.

It is a goal of mine to help as many people escape morbid obesity as I can.

I spent over 37 years of my life obese. At my highest weight, I was almost 600 pounds. I had developed many health problems and knew that I had to make a change or my daughter would be growing up without me.

In May of 2004 I started wroking on getting fit and healthy. In less than 3 years I had lost 340 plus pounds and found a new life. The program I was on included diet and exercise - I have not had a gastric bypass. My current weight is 220 pounds and health and fitness are a major part of my life. I have kept the weight off for over 2 years now.

It has been an incredible journey. I went from a lifetime of morbid obesity to being selected as one of Ultimate Houston’s 2006 Outstanding work-out partner with my good friend Austin Davis.


Later that same year, I was selected to appear in People Magazine’s Half Their Size issue.


It is my goal to help as many people as I can to discover that they do not have to settle for the restrictions that being obese can impose upon your life and your health.

What I will say is that while it is my responsibility for letting myself get to 562.3 pounds - I think there are many factors that lead to morbid obesity. I ate every calorie that made me that weight. It is true that calories in vs calories out works for every human being on the planet. I do think that your post makes a very real problem seem to be a failure in character. I think it is a bit more involved that that IMHO.

I wish you the very best!

Charles ~ Houston, TX

Dec. 13th, 2008 05:18 am (UTC)
Re: Well...
Thanks for your comment, Charles. I understand that there is a lot that adds up to any really problematic imbalance. I know that it is not a "failure in character"....though it is clear to me that issues of character can contribute. We all learn and grow through the lessons of life. Character takes time and effort to develop, and learning to maintain your physical plant is something that requires the development of character.

Nobody is perfect, least of all me. I do not tell stories on my own deepest challenges at the public level, but I assure you, I have my own challenges. I see how hard it is. I have compassion for obese people, and for all who suffer and struggle. I do not mean to insult you, and I'm sorry that you interpreted my rant as an accusation.
Dec. 13th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Well...
I just wanted to let you know - I did not take what you wrote as an accusation on me - more of a broad generalization and simplification of a much more complex person and societal problem. We really live in a toxic food environment. That does not absolve us on a personal level from our responsibility and I am no health food extremist by any means. I will say this, if you want to stay even close to fit and healthy and close to a "normal" weight - you have to work at it in America. Portion size is just ludricious. A "normal" meal at almost any restaurant is probably close to 2 to 3 times as many calories as needed for a meal. The thing about it that gets to me is that it does not have to be that way. You can make food taste great without making it so damn calorie dense. Oh well, enough of my ranting....

I wish you all the best!

Charles ~ Houston, TX
Dec. 13th, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Well...
So we agree. You are simply faulting me for not writing long enough to satisfy you about the complexity of the issue.

This just in:



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