Penalties For Being Overweight
This is becoming a bit of a trend over the last couple of years. Recently on Fox News (Dayside), a New Yorker who weighed more than 400 pounds wanted the city’s hospitals which are currently over $15 million in debt, or the government, to buy larger ambulances and equipment to accommodate people his size. He said he had the right to it; that he was being discriminated against for being overweight. A couple of days later, another guy on Fox News contended that obese people are paid less because employers have to pay more in health insurance and the government ought to put a stop to that. The direct costs of obesity are more than 5% of all medical costs.
Last summer, there were several news articles about overweight people who were angry at Southwest for making them purchase two seats. Other airlines have received the same complaints. In looking for information about that, I found the website for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. No, I’m not kidding. It’s a real organization. They have some good ideas about preventing diet fraud, but they also have “fat liberation” demonstrations including “taking up part of St. Vartan's Park on the corner of 35th Street and First Avenue, donned grass hula skirts, tiaras and flamingo headbands to illustrate their acceptance of their flab. They threw around beach balls and participated in a self-defense exercise before dancing the ‘Hokey-Pokey fat liberation’ song.” You can’t do that kind of thing and reasonably expect people to take you seriously.
Obese people should be extended normal courtesies and considerations. Equal access to housing and jobs and all that. Nobody I know would argue against that. But let’s just get a grip, here. The vast majority of overweight people (including me) got that way because we took in more calories than we expended. Much like my bank account, but in reverse. Cause and effect. Simple. For a few people, there are other medical reasons why they gained weight. Some people are genetically predisposed to be overweight, but that is not destiny, it just means the bar has been set higher for them than for other people. Life is not fair. Deal with it. And the results of being overweight should primarily affect the overweight person, not everybody else, even if obesity is the result of a medical treatment or condition. The bank has not refunded my overdraft fees just because I’m disorganized and bad at math.
So there are penalties for being overweight. If a person spills over into their neighbor’s seat on the plane, that’s not fair to the other passenger. So the overweight person should have to buy two seats. Health insurance should cost more. It costs more for smokers, for diabetics, for hemophiliacs and for any number of other health problems. My husband pays more because he had cancer. Why should overweight people be exempt from the same reality that governs everybody else?
Posted by Laura Curtis at June 6, 2005 06:14 PM
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|# June 7th, 2005 1:40 PM kbee|
|A short list of what to read instead of this bigot garbage. (NAAFA's 35-years-old, chica, and fat people have been proven over and over to NOT be gluttons. Guess you don't get out much, other than the Klan rallies?)
Bad Axe, MI man fired for being fat wins lawsuit
Sandy Szwarc on the Flagel study
Disproving the "Gluttony" Lie
Interview with Paul Campos:
|# June 7th, 2005 1:45 PM kris|
You can make your point without resorting to completely and totally uncalled for name calling.
We don't put up with that kind of crap here.
|# June 7th, 2005 1:53 PM kbee|
|You don't put up with "name calling." Along with the non-logic (i.e. comparing human metabolism to a bank account) and smark aleck remarks (i.e. ridiculing fat dancers), the following specific hate speech directed against fat people appears in the previous article:
Re. NAAFA "No, I’m not kidding. It’s a real organization."
"overweight" (it's kinda like calling someone black "colored")
I've got another name to call you: "hypocrite!"
|# June 7th, 2005 1:57 PM kris|
|you are insane
i'm sure you think that's hate speech too :-)
|# June 7th, 2005 1:58 PM BrianH|
I think you need to find some reality of your own. Your link states such gems of wisdom as:
"The GUTS and DONALD studies join a profusion of other studies, both clinical and epidemiological, over the past fifty years demonstrating that fat children and adults as a population normally eat exactly the same as thin people."
Frankly that isn't true. People get FAT because they eat more calories than their body burns off. There may be a few people with low metabolisms that burn fewer calories at rest than average. These people will have to eat less than average to maintain a normal weight. But the overwhelming majority of FAT people are FAT because they eat too much. I suggest your referenced studies don't show that because the FAT people lie about how much they've eaten.
There's also been studies that show that part of the problem is perception of serving size. For example a normal person may consider 1 serving of pizza to be 1/4 the pizza where a FAT person will consinder 1 serving to be 1/2 the pizza. Both are only eating 1 serving of pizza (the same amount on paper) buit the FAT person ate twice as much.
|# June 7th, 2005 2:14 PM kbee|
|"But, but, it CAN'T be true because, because I SAY SO!!!"
Yeah, and the world's flat.
How about reading and listening for a change instead of clinging so desperately and pathetically to your hate myths? Or, maybe you're just too afraid to live in a just world without a scapegoat group you get to hate? (Hint: if you don't know who Ancel Keyes is without hitting Google, you're not qualified to have any opinion on fatness, period.)
|# June 7th, 2005 2:16 PM BVBigBro|
|So, a fat person who doesn't know who Ancel Keyes is can't have an opinion on fatness? |
|# June 7th, 2005 2:46 PM BrianH|
As an exercise, go sit outside a Butternut Bread store and watch the people. Watch what they buy and what they do with the products. I think you'll find that the most Twinkies are sold to FAT people. I think you'll find that the people who can't wait to get to the car to tear open the box of Ho Ho's are the FAT people. I know that's only an annectdotal experience, but it may open your eyes a bit.
|# June 7th, 2005 2:58 PM Laura|
|kbee, you take such a hysterical tone; bigots, the Klan, hate, etc. Disagreement with you = hate, interesting conclusion.
Even if you are right (which I do not concede) and everybody who is fat got that way for reasons completely beyond their control, the reason I wrote the post is that those things not my problem. My weight is my problem. My husband's cancer is my problem. Our insurance rates reflect those problems, and that is normal and appropriate. Why should society pick up the tab?
If I found myself unable to fit into one seat on a Southwest flight, that's my problem. Why should the airline have to take a loss because my butt is big? It's not their problem.
If so many people are condemned to obesity and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it, then hospitals and other businesses can and will market to that and capitalize on it. That's America. But it should not be a taxpayer problem.
That whole lefty victim mentality gets pretty old. As for the "hate speech" I hope you have stock in a fabric softener company because your level of sensitivity must be very difficult to maintain. I stand by "No I'm not kidding," because I frankly think that the name and concept of NAAFA is ridiculous. It's their right to organize and pursue goals, it's my right to think it's silly. As for the "flab" that is a quote from the Washington Times article, take it up with them. And if "overweight" is now a slur, geez I guess I didn't get this month's issue of Politically Correct Speech. Ooops.
|# June 8th, 2005 1:59 AM Daddy|
|I got fat because I ate like I was in my teens and exercised like I was in my 80's.
I think having mirrors in my house qualifies me to have an opinion on fatness.
I hate it. I wouldn't spend any time around someone who was abusive toward me regarding my weight; but if somebody throws around terms like:
...what can I do?
Yo mama's so fat, she stepped on a dollar and made change.
|# June 8th, 2005 5:40 AM Laura|
|What perplexes me is how "overweight" is a more offensive term than "fat."
|# June 8th, 2005 7:19 AM BrianH|
|It's because according to the links kbee posted. They aren't overweight. They would be that weight even if their only caloric food intake were 2 pieces of lettuce. That's their natural weight so it's offensive to say they're OVERweight.
kbee is living in a dreamland. He's denying simple physics. It takes X energy to do a task, you get Y energy from consuming food, your body stores up the difference if Y > X. There are differences in people's digestive efficiency so not everyone gets the same useable engergy from Z amount of food so that is the only variable. Those with high efficiency systems need to eat a little less than those with low efficiency systems. These differences are small and do not account for the majority of FAT people.
I'm overweight because I eat too much and exercise too little. I know it. But I haven't gotten far enough over to make drastic changes in my lifestyle (I am making smaller changes like reducing portion sizes and changing lunch selections from Big Mac and fries to things that are a little better for me).
|# June 8th, 2005 8:00 AM JohnTant|
|I'll say the only contention one could have with Laura's post is that she makes generalizations about fat people. Big deal. She said herself she is making a general point, so it follows that she'd make generalizations.
With that, I think it's entirely fair to say that, in general, fat people are that way because of eating habits. Sure you'll find exceptions to the rule, but to say that the majority of fat people are like that because of factors out of their control seems to embrace junk science. While I agree that general definitions of what is "overweight" tend to suffer from their own problems, there is something to consider about all of this:
The percentage of people in our country who are "overweight" in general terms has been increasing. If being overweight is not traceable to eating habits, then what is causing the increase? Is this some X-Men style genetic mutation that is only now manifesting itself? Or is it due to the more sedentary lifestyle we Americans have been privileged to have in recent years? In a world where one can order pizza delivery via email, is it really surprising to have an increase in obesity?
So while I understand there are fringe cases of people who are overweight no matter what they do, I think Laura's point holds. In my opinion any outrage stemming from making that general point is more likely due to a persecution complex and not any definitive science on the ground.
|# June 8th, 2005 9:07 AM BrianH|
|My Dr. is from India. He claims that the problem with America is that there is TOO MUCH FOOD "and good food too" available at all times of the day and night. "You too fat. Eat less. Excercise more." Was his last advise to me in that regard.
|# June 9th, 2005 9:14 PM KS|
|This is the most RIDICULOUS argument I have ever seen. Only an idiot would fail to see that his weight, although a problem, is HIS problem and not the government's, private enterprise's or society's. I happen to be one of those people who has been totally unable to budge the excess weight, thanks in part to a couple of metabolic problems that are beyond my control. HOWEVER, it does not give me the right to impose my problems on any of the above-named entities. Nor does it give me the right to expect special treatment or to rant because someone else expresses an opinion that I may not share.
Kbee, get a LIFE, for goodness sake!