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Should being overweight be illegal?
November 28th, 2011 | Permanent Link

Our healthcare system is f**ked up. I’m pretty sure that’s a non-debatable fact that most of us can agree on. But the big question of “How the heck do we fix it?” is not nearly as easy to agree upon.

I’ve always thought that with large-scale society-based problems like this, the best solution is to start from the very bottom up and change the way we think about the whole system first. That, of course is pretty close to impossible unless you have absolutely everyone on board. For example reducing carbon emissions would require that everyone completely rethinks how they get places, how often they buy groceries, etc. And changing healthcare would be best fixed from the root of the problem–our health.

But how do you get an entire country to change the way they take care of themselves? We need to be a healthier people so that we don’t let problems go so long that we need such massive healthcare. Of course cancer is a bit of a different story, but eating whole, natural and unprocessed foods without a bunch of man-made chemicals buzzing in them will undoubtedly increase our risk of being cancer-free.

Japan is doing something radical. It’s something that many of us think about, talk about in private circles of friendsĀ guaranteedĀ not to be offended, and is an obvious solution to our problem. But it’s pretty damn unconstitutional.

My question to you guys is: is this gray area of unconstitutionality worth the massive gain in forcing a change from the bottom up what would radically change the health of our country for the better?

Check it out and tell me what you think:

4 Responses to “Should being overweight be illegal?”
  1. Mary:

    Wow. That’s really offensive. Weight loss is such a complicated issue. Does anyone really think that people who need to loss weight don’t know it? Do we really need the government to point it out? I don’t know what the answer is but stigmatizing people isn’t it, particularly since self esteem isues can often play a big role in gaining/losing weight.

  2. madelyn:

    Thanks for your thoughts! That is an awesome and insightful response. That is a good point that sort of singling people out might make them feel bad, but I don’t think that the purpose of creating a reward/penalty system is to “point out” that a person is overweight, but rather to put limits in place so that people will be incentivized to stay below them. But you are right, this is a very complicated issue, and I don’t necessarily agree with what Japan is doing, but it does pose a very interesting question. Thanks again for your thoughts?

  3. Mary:

    Sure, it wasn’t the intention, but that is certainly the result. Again, I don’t think “fat people” need any more incentives. They are already told how unhealthy they are – when there is plenty of evidence that “skinny people” can be just as or more unhealthy.

    There are so many things wrong with this approach, it’s really confusing that it got traction at all. Frex, what are you going to base it on. BMI? We all know how unrealiable that is. Fat percentage? Again, our methods of measuring are notoriously inaccurate. Besides, all of these things vary dramatically base on your genetic make up. There is no one perfect answer to fat/not fat for everyone. How do you really expect to legislate that?

  4. madelyn:

    One of the things that immediately bothered me was that measuring the waist is not a reliable way to measure a person’s health–I totally agree. Body fat percentage would definitely be the best way to measure it, but you’re right, that can even be a little tough to simulate perfectly all across the board. The only way to make a scientifically perfect measurement is with underwater weight measurement, called hydrostatic weighing, and this is very cumbersome and expensive. This certainly isn’t the best way to change the way a nation takes care of themselves, but I find it very interesting that Japan seems to accept as unoffensive whereas here we take it as a personal affront on not only our selves, but our constitutional freedoms as well. And you’re right, there’s no way this would ever pass through our legislature. I wonder if any such a bill has even been introduced onto any house or senate floor?

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