Health

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Restaurant Obesity Ban in Bad Taste, Critics Say

February 06, 2008 12:50 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A Mississippi bill prohibiting restaurants from serving obese people generates heated reactions even though lawmakers say the measure is doomed.

30-Second Summary

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Although House of Representatives leaders say the bill will never win approval, it has drawn press coverage from around the world.

The bill’s sponsors, including Rep. Ted Mayhall, said they proposed it to draw attention to Mississippi’s obesity rate, which is the highest in the nation.

Advocacy group the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance said the measure amounted to discrimination and would bankrupt the state.

An unnamed author on Big Fat Blog called the law “one of the least logical bills in modern American history.”

Government officials have often cited the high costs of treating obesity as a reason for advocating dietary measures, but a study from the Netherlands has cast doubt on that argument.

Led by the Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, the study compared the cost of health care for healthy people, smokers and obese people.

The study concluded that average costs from age 20 on were highest for healthy people, and lowest for smokers.

Researchers attributed their findings to the fact that healthy people live longer. They said that long life was no reason to stop obesity prevention campaigns.

Campaigns aside, it is not unheard of for governments to get directly involved in the lives of obese people.

A Missouri judge was accused of delaying an adoption until the child’s prospective father lost weight. And an eight-year-old British boy, who weighed four times the national average and seemed to eat only junk food, faced being taken into care last year.

Headline Link: ‘Obesity Bill Won’t Make it to the Floor’

Reaction: Mississippi bill faces fervent opposition

Analysis: Obesity studies

Related Topics: Governments intervene in lives of the obese

Reference: Obesity health guide

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