Weighing in on fat bigotry

Rumor has it the Fat Police have ordered Santa Claus to lose the flab or face furlough
Rumor has it the Fat Police have ordered Santa Claus to lose the flab or face furlough

To follow up on Big Fat Hate Speech, Sue’s fine rant about fat bigots.

What is normal eating?

“In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.” – Ellen Satter

I love this definition. Why can’t eating be flexible and fun? Some days, you eat a heaping pile of veggies for your side; other days, you reach for a big piece of cake for dessert. Normal eating isn’t judgmental, either: You’re not a monster for munching on Mac ‘n’ Cheese (gasp! the regular kind!).

Cardiologist’s plan: “Fat people need not apply for jobs at Cleveland Clinic”

Dr. Cosgrove maintains that health professionals should be as proactive in addressing people’s weight issues as they are in pushing them to quit smoking. “Our anti-obesity efforts have none of the urgency of our anti-smoking efforts,” he claims. “We should declare obesity a disease, and say we’re going to help you get over it.” His theory: obesity can lead to early deaths and skyrocketing health dangers.

While I’m glad Cosgrove says obesity may be a disease (like alcoholism), unfortunately, his actions are contradictory. Clearly, he sees overweight people as moral lepers with no rights who should be discriminated against. Can you think of any other disease where those who have it can be refused employment? I can’t. Can you imagine a cancer sufferer or someone with diabetes being refused employment? So why is it ok to do this with fat people?

Weighing in on fat bias

Many therapists and health professionals hold hidden biases toward their obese patients, studies find.

For example, a recent study found that even health professionals–including psychologists–who specialize in obesity often used words such as “lazy,” “stupid” and “worthless” to describe obese people.

Sickening, isn’t it?

One last thing. Clearly people have different body chemistry and react to food differently. Some people gain weight easier than others. I can eat bread until it comes out my ears and not gain weight, but the same can’t be said for Sue. Sometimes weight gain doesn’t have much to do with overeating. yet that’s the current view about fat people. They must be overeating, weak willed, etc. But that sometimes isn’t the case at all. And sliming them for supposed moral weaknesses hardly helps.

One comment

  1. “Can you think of any other disease where those who have it can be refused employment?”

    Oh, yes. Alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsive gambling, compulsive debting (yes, prospective employers can and do check your credit report before hiring). The list goes on.

    Plus, many WOULD NOT knowingly hire a person with a chronic debilitating physical disease for one simple reason: the cost of treatment will raise their health insurance costs for the whole pool. It’s an employer’s dilemma, especially if the applicant is someone they would otherwise really want to hire. If you get one employee who hits their deductible, the cost of your company-wide plan can go up 20% in a year. If you’ve got a hundred employees, that could mean a million dollars or more in extra health insurance costs! (Yes, I’m aware that it’s one more argument that the system is broken, but it’s the system we’ve got and, barring a miracle, are likely to be stuck with for the foreseeable future.)

    California has laws that prevent discrimination against those with “disabilities,” which (oddly enough) includes recovering alcoholics in their first 2 years of sobriety. (Many states don’t have such laws.) But even in California, if you’ve got a problem with weight or compulsive debt– sorry, you’re really not a good match for the position.

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