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Archive for February 12th, 2008

Time to Fight Fat

Not long ago, a lawmaker in the great State of Mississippi, decided in all his wisdom that the best way to fight obesity in the state would be to give restaurants the ability to decline service to patrons who were, in fact, clearly obese. The story appeared in USA Today on Feb. 5.  Clearly, the Republican legislator who had this braniac idea knew it wouldn’t get far. But, my friends, it’s gotten far.

Far enough to prompt debate in newspapers all around the country, like the Council Bluffs, Iowa, Nonpareil. In the editorials and letters to the editor I’ve glanced at, a key point is raised again and again. Should we attack the nation’s fat problem head on or tip toe around obesity like a Minnesota driver who gets cut off on I-494 by someone with out-of-state plates (Minnesota “nice” tells us to just wave that driver on by…with a smile)?

Fat AssGiving restaurant owners/wait staff the ability to not serve a patron based on how far his or her ass hangs off the chair is clearly not the way to go. But c’mon people! What’s the answer here? And why are we dancing around one of the biggest (guffaw) epidemics of the century? The term “morbidly obese” means that someone with this condition could easily die from the problem. Their fat issue will lead to chronic conditions including heart disease, diabetes and more – all at a huge cost to our already taxed health care system.  Do we, as intelligent, educated citizens stand by and watch this happen?

I would argue that if it’s OK for us to agree to ban smoking in commercial buildings, restaurants and other public places, ban drugs, and require bar owners to cut off patrons who are obviously drunk and intending to get even more so, then it’s not out of the question to find a way to restrict those who don’t have a “stop” button from eating themselves into further oblivion and even to death. Why is it NOT ok to at least have frank conversations with our neighbors about finding alternatives to that pound of butter and several gallons of Crisco they use to fry a turkey in their garage at Thanksgiving?

The nicey nice attitude toward obesity has to go on the shelf. It’s time to get angry and break out the anti-fat messaging that will ring clear in peoples’ heads once and for all. If not for them, then for their children. Let’s do it before our DNA alters itself and predisposes all of humanity to be obese.

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