Obesity as A Disability? Thoughts?

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 2:38am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

For starters, does obesity qualify as a "disability" in the "reasonable accommodation" sense?

What "accommodations" if any, have you noticed?

How are these accommodations, if there be any, recieved/viewed by the public? Yourself?

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 4:15am
arachide's picture
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Joined: 08/16/2000 - 09:00

Hmmmm,
Obesity caused by lifestyle is not a disability IMO. Obesity caused by a genetic/medical condition should be.
As a person who could stand to lose a few beer pounds ( [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] ), my weight is totally my responsibility. People who become obese due to sedentary lifestyles and high-fat diets will have a difficult time gaining(!)... "reasonable accomodations" when good nutrition and exercise should be the reasonable accomodations they should bring to THEMSELVES.
Now, for cases of obesity due to genetic/medical problems; I've never noted any kind of accomodation made specifically for those of greater girth than average.
Unfortunately, I don't think requests to accomodate the obese would be met very favourably by the public at large. Fat jokes are a staple of the North American humour grist.
*edited 'cuz I'm tired and making lots of typos
[This message has been edited by arachide (edited January 08, 2004).]

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 5:31am
StaceyK's picture
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Joined: 05/06/2003 - 09:00

I think most obesity is not a disability. Or, it's not a disability in the same way peanut allergies or blindness are. When your behavior can completely reverse your condition, I think it's a personal responsiblity issue. Some people are more prone to obesity and that is an unfortunate propensity...but I am prone to high metabolism and have to work not to be a complete stick - and in other times this is a severe disadvantage. In times of food shortage, I'd be the first to go... That said though I would love to see a focus in school on healthy nutritious things and physical activity. In the US our culture does seem to promote obesity...no junk food machines in school or fast food vendors...I'd be all for that.

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 5:39am
momma2boys's picture
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Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

I agree that most cases are not a disability unless there is an underlying medical condition. Childhood obesity is one thing that makes me very angry. Why do people let kids become so overweight? I know the school has a lot of focus on food, but I believe the parents have a lot to do with it too.
I also know that everyone is paying for obesity because they say that it is the leading cause for rising medical costs and rising insurance premiums. So we are paying for those who choose to overeat and not exercise. Not much different than paying for those who smoke their whole lives and have tons of medical bills, I guess.
I would have a difficult time with making accomodations for someone who is overweight with no medical problems. I dont want to be overweight so I watch what I eat and exercise. Why should we make special accomodations for those who choose not too?
I have no personal hard feelings against overweight people, just dont think its a disablility I should accomodate. The kids whose parents allow them to become overweight is a whole other situation with me.

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 6:40am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I have noticed accommodations once. Read about it in the newspaper, but can't remember where it was.
Someone was convicted of a crime. A serious crime. Anyone else would have been in jail. Due to this man's size, jail was considered *cruel and unusual punishment* and so he was placed under house arrest.
I don't know how the rest of the public recieved/viewed this, but personally, I was disgusted. He belonged in jail.

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 8:09am
momma2boys's picture
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AnnaMarie, That is pretty disgusting! Can you imagine how the family of the victim felt?

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 8:57pm
Gwen Thornberry's picture
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Joined: 10/14/1999 - 09:00

Have any of you read "Fat Land"? I can't remember who wrote it, and am only half-way through, but it makes fascinating reading. It gives accounts of why exactly it is that it is cheaper now for low income families to feed themselves at a McDonalds, etc, than to buy food at the grocery store.
I don't think that obesity is a disability as such, but when you look at all the factors, the odds are weighed (pardon the pun!) against low income, non-white people leading a healthy lifestyle.
Its not a pair of shoes I can easily imagine myself in - I'm not American and I'm not low income or obese, but the facts are that since the 1970s, its become easier and easier to become obese.
Take as an example a complaint the Olive Garden received in the 80's - the chairs were not big enough for the "over size". The CEO deemed it necessary that at least 3 over size chairs be supplied to every branch to accomodate those who found the regular chairs too small. If that isn't permissive, I don't know what is.
McDonald's goal is to have repeat custom at 20 visits per month. 20. 20???? I go maybe once a month, but if that is a realistic goal (and it is in some cases), then what the heck are we coming to??
Sorry MommaBear, you struck a real chord with me, I could go on and on, but I won't!
No, I don't think obesity is a disability, but facts are that it is easier to be obese than it is to be lean and fit in this day and age.

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 10:06pm
Sandra Y's picture
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Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

I think some people who are obese are disabled by their obesity, but not all. Some obese people are active and pretty healthy and aren't too slowed down by their extra weight. But others are too big to walk. Obviously, those people are disabled.
I'm always surprised by the stigma surrounding obesity. It's a medical condition, not a moral condition!
After all, lots of diseases are caused or influenced by lifestyle choices. Emphysema, lung cancer, diabetes, AIDS, heart disease, cervical cancer, even breast cancer...they can all be caused at least partly by things people do and choices they make in their lives.
I don't think it matters what caused the disability or disease in the first place. Some people with spinal cord injuries did something stupid to cause their own injury, but they are just as disabled and are entitled to the same kind of accommodations as someone who was born with spina bifida, for example.
Anyway, obesity isn't just a simple matter of someone eating too much. It has to be more complicated than that. I know a family with one obese child and in that case it's definitely not caused by diet. I think there's a lot more to obesity than meets the eye.
[url="http://www.obesity.org"]www.obesity.org[/url]

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 10:27pm
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by arachide:
[b]Hmmmm,
Obesity caused by lifestyle is not a disability IMO. Obesity caused by a genetic/medical condition should be.
[/b]
could you give me some examples?

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 10:45pm
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by momma2boys:
[b]I agree that most cases are not a disability unless there is an underlying medical condition. ..............
............I would have a difficult time with making accomodations for someone who is overweight with no medical problems. [/b]
is obesity a "medical condition"?
Quote:Originally posted by momma2boys:
[b]I dont want to be overweight so I watch what I eat and exercise. [/b]
Does this method [i]always[/i] achieve desired goals for everyone? Are there persons [i]for whatever reason(s)[/i] that [b]do not posess this capability[/b]? Are we all created equal?
Quote:Originally posted by momma2boys:
[b]Why should we make special accomodations for those who choose not too?[/b]
Is it always a choice, or always a conscious choice?
Quote:Originally posted by momma2boys:
[b]I have no personal hard feelings against overweight people, just dont think its a disablility I should accomodate. [/b]
Wondering if other persons have similiar sentiments wrt to other disabilities?

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 10:53pm
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

SandraY,
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
(In an otherwise imperfect world...?)

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