Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
EU Government Medicine

EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability 625

Posted by samzenpus
from the can't-work-eating dept.
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes The EU's top court is considering a test case which could oblige employers to treat obesity as a disability. Denmark has asked the European Court of Justice to rule on the case of a male childminder who says he was sacked for being too fat. The court's final ruling will be binding across the EU. It is seen as especially significant because of rising obesity levels in Europe and elsewhere, including the US. If the judges decide it is a disability then employers could face new obligations. Employers might in future have a duty to create reserved car parking spaces for obese staff, or adjust the office furniture for them, she said.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13, 2014 @12:41AM (#47227299)

    i'm sorry europe.

    • by brainboyz (114458) on Friday June 13, 2014 @12:49AM (#47227345) Homepage

      One can hope that if this goes through they put the designated parking spots at the back of the parking lot.

      • Well to be fair, pretty soon employers are not going to have much choice.

        Several cities are already at the 40% mark. It won't be a question of choice, the only viable candidates will all be obese.

        The choice will be to accommodate and hire, or refuse to hire anybody and stall your business.

        • by Stellian (673475) on Friday June 13, 2014 @04:41AM (#47228053)

          Why would any employer refuse to hire obese workers as long as they can pull their own weight, so to speak ? They are trying to make obesity a valid form of disablement so obese workers have increased protection and MORE rights compared to their regular weight peers.

          • by Frobnicator (565869) on Friday June 13, 2014 @05:14AM (#47228177) Journal

            I disagree.

            I don't think it is a matter of "more rights", any more than you get "more rights" when you turn 40 and enter that legally protected class in the US.

            Almost all discrimination is legal. There are very few things you cannot legally discriminate against.

            In an idealized world, people get jobs because they can do the job. They can keep the job as long as they do it well. The only factor used to discriminate (=differentiate) is the ability to do the job.

            In the real world, once the field is narrowed people get interviewed and decisions get made based on tons of factors. How people look doesn't really matter to most technical workers, but would you rather hire the ideal-weight handsome person, or the 450 pound ugly guy?

            We discriminate all the time, and do it legally. Employers discriminate based on education, based on job history. We discriminate based on regional accents, and hair styles, and body language. Those aren't protected classes. Employers discriminate based on all kinds of factors that have nothing to do with the job, even your cologne choice at an interview can make the difference between the person hired and the person told "no". People discriminate based on body fat. Currently it is not a protected status, so the discrimination is currently acceptable. That one might be changing.

            • by Thruen (753567) on Friday June 13, 2014 @09:21AM (#47229169)

              I don't think it is a matter of "more rights", any more than you get "more rights" when you turn 40 and enter that legally protected class in the US.

              The big difference being that you can't stop yourself from aging, you can stop yourself from becoming obese. Short of rare (much more rare than obese folks want you to think) medical conditions, nobody has an excuse to be obese, you're not born that way and you're not naturally inclined to become that way without excessively unhealthy habits.

              How people look doesn't really matter to most technical workers, but would you rather hire the ideal-weight handsome person, or the 450 pound ugly guy?

              Without a doubt, the ideal-weight handsome guy, because the 450lb obese guy demonstrates simply by being obese he lacks basic self control, and likely doesn't have the discipline I desire from employees. If you look like you can't be bothered to give a damn about your own personal health, why would I expect you to give a damn about your arguably less important job? Not to mention as an employer I don't want the added risk of somebody overworking themselves and having a heart attack on the job, something which seems less likely in an individual who appears healthy.

              Yes, employers discriminate, because otherwise they'd be forced to hire every yahoo that strolls in and their business would suffer for it. Some qualities shouldn't be subject to discrimination; ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and plenty more. But obesity? To be obese is, generally speaking, a choice. Most people don't want to accept that, but it's the truth, every day you choose not to start exercising and eating healthy is a day you choose to remain obese. A lot of people argue they don't have time to exercise or the money to eat healthy, but it doesn't take much searching to find helpful advice from folks who thought the same thing until they realized they were completely wrong.

              If an employer tells you he's not going to hire you because they maintain a professional workplace and your hair is blue and spikey, you can either choose to do something about your hair or you can throw a fit and act like it's not reasonable to want your employees to give the impression they're employed when people walk in the door and either one is your right. The same with obesity, if somebody tells you your ass won't fit in their chairs so they can't hire you, you can either throw a fit and act like they should invest in all new office furniture to cater to you, or you can go get a bike and invest in your own health, come back and get the job looking (and feeling) like a new person.

              • by LordNightwalker (256873) on Friday June 13, 2014 @12:42PM (#47230743)

                you're not born that way

                Ever seen a newborn? Yes, you *are* born that way. ;)

                But I agree with your other points. Although, I must nuance your views a bit. For a health freak who doesn't eat the same stuff as the rest of us and considers that "normal", or someone blessed with a fast metabolism who can hog out on junk food and stay slim, it may be hard to comprehend that for some people it is in fact quite hard to lose weight and keep it off.

                The situation is a bit more complex than just saying "put down that fork". For a lot of us overweight and obese people, the basic feedback loop that tells us when we've had enough is broken. And most of the fault there lies with the previous generation, although it's hard to blame them when they didn't know better. They were for the most part hard working labourers raised on big meals, dumping those same big meals onto the plates of their offspring, while simultaneously doing everything in their power and giving us all the opportunities to ensure we would never have to work as hard as they do. Oh, and of course, coming from a situation of scarcity, they would not accept "I've had enough" while there was still food on the plate... So from a young age we're raised on the wrong idea of how big a meal should be and taught to ignore the signals our bodies tell us when we've had enough. Now we're no longer capable of recognising those signals, assuming our bodies still bother sending them at all. We're the ones who have to measure and track to compensate for that broken feedback loop. Even now, after years of being conscious about my food intake, the meals I eat still look rather small to me. Yet they do manage to fill my belly and satisfy me just fine, and I *know* I feel better eating smaller meals rather than those feasts that leave you bloated for hours to come. But I can still not rely on those automatic clues to know when I've had enough like some others do; I'll always have to be conscious about what I eat and how much.

                Now, combine previous with the realities of modern life: most of us have a sedentary life, spending the bulk of our days in an office chair. Most food these days is so rich in calories, fat, other junk, and processed to death... Food that's much too rich, combined with way too little time for physical exercise. Again something that may be alien to some; as I understand, commute times in the States are rather short. But here in Europe it's not unheard of to be away for 11 hours a day for work alone. My commute eats a good 2.5 hours out of my day, *on a good day*.

                So while I agree with what you say: being overweight is a matter of choice, it's not as simple as most people blessed with better metabolisms pretend it is. We can't simply close our eyes, click our heels together three times and wish ourselves thin. For some of us, it is rather hard. I for one am in that camp: it takes a lot of effort to lose weight, and constant (luckily mild in my case) vigilance to keep it off. To give you an idea, in order to lose 10kg (22lb) over a period of 3 months, one 125g (4.4oz) bag of rice and one chicken breast would be my total food intake over 4 days, for that entire 3 month period. We're measuring daily food intake in tablespoons at that time, and the number is either single digits or "let's count in hex so we can keep it in single digits". Yeah, I work out too. No, it doesn't help. Weight loss happens in the kitchen, not the gym, no matter what people tell you.

                It's understandable that some people just consider it too much work for something they don't perceive as a benefit: if you're a good coder, it doesn't matter how fit you are. The increased health and fitness may perhaps improve your brain functions a bit, but at the expense of coding time which builds and maintains your skills. If you're a good coder now , while overweight, it must mean your current strategy is working. Do you really want to risk messing with that? Especially considering that computer time is fun time, while physical

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Thruen (753567)
                  Just to keep things in perspective, I come from a family of overweight and obese people, and I've put a great deal of effort into developing healthier habits than them to stay healthy. I fell off the wagon after college and gained weight rapidly, but got right back on it and the weight came back off. Your claim that to lose 22lb in 3 months is absurd unless you truly don't do anything, all day, as that much food would provide you with a mere hundred calories a day and that is no attempt at weight loss, that
              • The big difference being that you can't stop yourself from aging, you can stop yourself from becoming obese.

                Actually many people can't. There's still plenty of active research being done into obesity, but one thing is pretty clear from what is known. It's not a matter of "basic self control". The appetite is a function of a very deep and primitive part of the brain and body chemistry, it's not a matter of rational thought.

                People who are thin are not generally so because they are exhibiting superior will-power. It's generally not any effort at all. They are just that way. Heck in my twenties, I desperately tried t

          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13, 2014 @07:04AM (#47228463)

            Why would any employer refuse to hire obese workers as long as they can pull their own weight, so to speak ?

            If obesity is treated as an disability, then stupidity would be not that far off

            And when stupidity is treated as an disability, then employers are forced to hire people no matter how fucking stupid they are !

            Just how far are we going to allow this political correctness madness to spread ?

          • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday June 13, 2014 @07:32AM (#47228579)

            Why would any employer refuse to hire obese workers as long as they can pull their own weight, so to speak ?

            Assuming that was a serious question, the first thing that comes to mind is that clinical obesity appears to significantly increase the risk of quite a few serious medical conditions. In much (all?) of Europe, employers are directly on the hook financially when employees take time off sick. Moreover, there are indirect consequences, such as unfairly increasing the workload on other staff when someone is off work, possibly putting up the price for the employer and/or all of their staff if the employer offers benefits like subsidised private health insurance, and even little resentment-breeding things like reserving scarce parking spaces for specific staff necessarily at a loss to everyone else.

            To me, the moral position here seems very simple. If someone is obese for a genuine medical reason they can't avoid then everyone should try to accommodate them in reasonable ways. If someone is obese for any other reason, perhaps they should try going to the park or the gym instead of going to court. Employers should no more be forced to accommodate a voluntarily obese person's laziness than they should be forced to grant smokers longer breaks than everyone else and provide dedicated facilities for the smokers to poison themselves in.

            Whether it is worth hiring an obese person anyway because they are good at doing a certain job is a separate question, of course. I'm just trying to show some reasonably objective arguments for why an employer might wish to discriminate on the basis of obesity.

    • But I guess it isn't something that should be laughed at in general. Some people have thyroid conditions in that they can't really medically lose weight.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Hognoxious (631665)

        Unless you have chloroplasts, you totally can lose weight.

      • by TWX (665546) on Friday June 13, 2014 @12:56AM (#47227379)
        I expect that the population that's truly morbidly obese to the point that they need protection due to a medical condition that cannot be controlled is very, very small.

        I don't think that in most cases being obese should be a protected category in the sense that an employer should be forced to purchase special furniture or to assign special parking. I say this as someone that isn't exactly tiny myself, but attempts to keep it under control. I'd argue that many such "protections" would actually be worse for the obese individual, rather than better. We've already seen lots of obese people abusing power-chairs and power-shopping-carts; we need people to put in more effort, not less.

        If there are underlying medical reasons that should dictate special treatment, then it's those reasons that should give an obese person their special treatment, not the fact that they are obese.
        • So build an obstacle course between the special "obese people only" parking spaces and the front door...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tom (822)

          If there are underlying medical reasons that should dictate special treatment, then it's those reasons that should give an obese person their special treatment, not the fact that they are obese.

          Exactly. The 0.1% or so of fat people who are so because of a medical condition already have a medical diagnosis. They don't need a second one.

          For almost everyone who is fat, the medically correct terminology for their condition is called "laziness". Not just to not excercise, but more importantly to not spend the effort on eating right, and on finding the right mix between diet and sports.

          There's no excuse for being fat. If you are fat, it is because of choices you made and keep making every day.

      • by OhPlz (168413) on Friday June 13, 2014 @12:57AM (#47227389)

        Perhaps they should stop eating every thyroid they come across.

  • King-Size Homer [wikipedia.org]: In the episode, Homer despises the nuclear plant's new exercise program, and decides to gain 61 pounds (28 kg) in order to claim a disability and work at home.

    • I loved the part where he's on the scale, and needs another few ounces. He's holding a doughnut in his hand, but the dial doesn't move until he takes a bite. As if that alone changes the total weight on the scale.

      • It's the Simpsons. You know, where he puts cereal into a bowl, adds milk and it catches on fire. In a world where milk and cereal spontaneously combust, consumption of a donut most assuredly can cause an increase in weight.
        • Milk and cereal can spontaneously combust in this world too, if you enjoy the rich taste of potassium flakes.
      • It is a classic gag that predates the Simpsons. Classic Garfield cartoons used it, he measures 1 pound of lasagna, eats it, and the scale says he gained five. The joke probably dates back to the invention of the bathroom scale.
  • Thyroid problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13, 2014 @12:48AM (#47227331)

    The number of medical problems that actually cause obesity is very, very small.
    The primary cause in 99.99% of cases is a higher intake of calories than output of calories as activity.
    MD anonymous coward here, and sorry, that is how it is.

    • Re:Thyroid problem (Score:4, Insightful)

      by HnT (306652) on Friday June 13, 2014 @05:50AM (#47228263)

      You are technically right, the worst kind of being right. You are completely neglecting the multitude of e.g. psychological issues that cause people to eat so much they become morbidly obese.
      This is not such a simple issue and oversimplifying it in a condescending way will not help this problem practically all first world countries are facing.

      • Re:Thyroid problem (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Friday June 13, 2014 @10:30AM (#47229687)

        You are technically right, the worst kind of being right. You are completely neglecting the multitude of e.g. psychological issues that cause people to eat so much they become morbidly obese.

        THIS.

        Seriously -- let's assume the AC (claiming to be MD) is right. Increasing rates of obesity have been called one of the biggest threats to health, one of the most dangerous trends, an "epidemic" that can ruin the lives of millions of billions of people.

        And the AC notes -- well, they're doing it to themselves. There's no simple physical explanation (like thyroid dysfunction or whatever).

        Okay -- then what? Let's think about this.

        A patient comes into a doctor's office and shows evidence that she has been cutting herself. It has gotten to the point that it is causing complications (infections, etc.), not to mention a sign of mental problems. The doctor's response is: "Well, everything's pretty good, but you should lay off the cutting before your next physical. Have a great day!"

        Another patient comes in showing evidence he has been bashing his head into the wall. It may have caused some concussions and there is a potential for long-term brain damage. The doctor's response is: "Well, keep doing what you're doing, but you really shouldn't bash your head so much. See you next year!"

        Do these scenarios sound preposterous to you? Both patients come to a doctor exhibiting a behavior that the doctor has determined to be self-inflicted injurious behavior, which can have long-term negative consequences for their health -- and the best response the doctor has is: "Stop doing it so much"?

        But that's precisely how doctors treat most obese patients. (Which isn't surprising, given that many have a serious bias [slashdot.org] against them, and other studies have shown that they tend not to trust obese patients or assume they can't follow directions or treatments.)

        An obese patient comes in, exhibiting pre-diabetic symptoms, and perhaps other health problems. And the typical response is simply: "Try eating healthier. And exercise a little more. See you next year!"

        If the AC is really a doctor, it's indicative of a truly sad perspective in the medical profession. If the AC truly believes that most patients' obesity is under their control (and not a physical deficit), but they are continuing to harm themselves actively on a long-term basis -- consistent with the characterization of obesity as a severe threat to good health -- the AC has a medical duty to at least try to probe a little deeper and discover whether there are other psychological problems or symptoms at work, or to refer the patient to someone who might be able to help.

        Having known a number of people who have struggled with weight issues due (in part) to depression, anxiety, stress, etc., it's often not as simple as just saying, "eat better!"

        If any other patients were displaying such self-destructive behavior with long-term health consequences, wouldn't doctors be more concerned?

    • by Kjella (173770) on Friday June 13, 2014 @06:31AM (#47228373) Homepage

      The number of medical problems that actually cause obesity is very, very small. The primary cause in 99.99% of cases is a higher intake of calories than output of calories as activity.

      Well, unless you count psychological problems as medical problems like for example depression/bipolar causing binge eating and such. For most it's simply a problem of diet and exercise, but for it's a side effect of a more serious underlying condition.

  • by bsdhacker (1324585) on Friday June 13, 2014 @12:49AM (#47227339)
    If this goes through, they should mandate a strict diet of vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish and water for the duration of their benefits collection period. If this could somehow be enforced, very few of them would be on "disability" for long. By the same token, getting drunk should be considered for disability. The solution is simple. Stop eating processed garbage and eat lots of whole foods instead.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Mr.CRC (2330444)

      Skip the whole grains. Carbs are the whole problem, and while whole grains may have more nutrition, they are still digested nearly as quickly as pure sugar. The resulting release of insulin causes the storage of fat AND the eventual depression of blood sugar which causes craving for food. After more than 30 years of struggling with waking up hungry at night, regardless of whether I ate a lot or little, after trying a ketogenic diet, I no longer get hunger pangs. Fat just melts away, without even trying

      • by gnupun (752725)
        Carbs create instant energy (for your brain, for example). So don't eliminate all carbs, just limit them, and eliminate the bad ones, like white bread.

        while whole grains may have more nutrition, they are still digested nearly as quickly as pure sugar.

        Refined flour (white bread) is digested quickly, whole wheat flour is not.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Neil Boekend (1854906)

          Warning: some necessary graphic imagery

          The main difference between white [self.com] and whole grain bread [self.com] is the fibers. White doesn't have much of them. In starch content they are quite similar (if you compensate for the difference in serving size).
          Fibers help your bowel movements. They prevent the most common blockages in your intestines but in extreme cases it can cause continuous diarrhea due to the same reason. They don't do anything else, they aren't absorbed through the intestine wall.
          For most people this means

    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      Why? I don't eat a strict diet like that, I eat nothing like that in fact, and I'm not a fattie, and my health checks come out about perfect. Japan has the world's longest lifespan, nobody there is eating brown rice or whole grains quinoa.

      Governments shouldn't tell people how to eat, especially when the specifics of what's healthy aren't exactly understood. There's a lot of evidence that meats are an important part of a healthy diet.

      • by N1AK (864906)

        Governments shouldn't tell people how to eat, especially when the specifics of what's healthy aren't exactly understood.

        Something I'd agree with in most cases. However in the UK we have public healthcare and social benefits. If someone is dangerously obese is becomes the whole countries business because of those institutions and some intervention is justified in my opinion. The biggest threat to public healthcare in the UK is obesity and type 2 diabetes, both of which are caused by over-eating or a poor die

  • Hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gerardrj (207690) on Friday June 13, 2014 @12:50AM (#47227351) Journal

    So the people who could most use the exercise are going to have to walk the least.

    I guess the overall plan makes sense; if you were to chop off your own leg you'd be considered disabled; I don't think the law makes any exceptions for self inflicted disability. It just seems wrong, though. Eat your way to not being able to fit in the office cubicle and your boss has to accommodate your mass by re-engineering the doors and floor to handle your breadth and heft.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Friday June 13, 2014 @12:53AM (#47227363) Homepage

    If obesity is a disability, and the legal definition of maiming is to disable or disfigure, will McDonald's advertising -- particularly when it materially misleads about health issues, like their Olympics sponsorship campaigns -- be ruled negligent maiming?

    Not saying it should or shouldn't -- just raising the question.

  • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Friday June 13, 2014 @12:55AM (#47227375)
    And governments should be looking for ways to curb/eliminate obesity (as incredibly hard as this is).

    I expect governments to do the opposite, however, and not fight against obesity and instead grant it privledges (special park spaces, etc.) and such.

    Bloomberg was one of the few politicians willing to stick his neck out and implement common sense reforms.

    Obesity needs the treatment that smoking was given.
    • Obesity needs the treatment that smoking was given.

      You mean things like banning it on airplane flights, in restaurants, etc? Interesting idea... not sure how that'd work out though.

      • >You mean things like banning it on airplane flights, in restaurants

        No, I mean very active efforts to slice and dice and causes and solutions and give those venues public funding and awareness campaigns and actually try to solve the problem.

        "Smoking" got defeated through social awareness, anti-smoking campaigns, "stop smoking" programs, taxes, and tons of other efforts.

        Today, efforts to curb obesity largely involves Michele Obama tinkering with school lunches --- which is a nice gesture, but is merely
        • Today, efforts to curb obesity largely involves Michele Obama tinkering with school lunches --- which is a nice gesture, but is merely a gesture.

          You mean that telling kids they are required to take a fruit with their lunch (which they throw it away) isn't going to reduce obesity?

          Shocking. The plan was foolproof. The fruit industry said so.

    • by Tom (822)

      Obesity needs the treatment that smoking was given.

      Sign me up.

      I own a small company. Very small, but I have hopes. If this ruling gets through, I'll make it inofficial company policy to not hire fat people, just like I'll never hire a smoker (and trust me smokers, we non-smokers smell it as soon as you enter the room, if you've had one in the past few hours).

      I know that many small companies have reservations hiring women because if they get pregnant, you've lost 10% (or so) of your team. But at least that's something that is temporary.

      So judges - yes, pleas

  • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Friday June 13, 2014 @12:59AM (#47227397)

    Obesity is a mental disability, most often an addiction to a wrong diet containing many addictive ingredients.

    The way most people feed themselves is by stuffing enormous amounts of carbs, often a lot of them sugars in their face. Combine those with a little fat and all your body does is store fat and try and balance the glucose content of your blood. The carbs make your gut bacteria generate "happy hormones" that get in your blood, making you hungry and cranky if you don't get your fix, whether your body actually needs food or not.

    The symptoms of this addiction are obesity and diabetes type 2. Please treat it as an addiction, not as a phyisical disability. If you do that, for example being taller than 6ft5 should be treated as a disability too and be given all benefits that should come with such a status. If being a size that's outside of what society will cater for is a reason to call people disabled.

    Tall people can't help being tall, fat people in over 95% of the cases can help it if they kick the habit. If you treat obesity as a physical disability, you are insulting everyone with a physical disability for which there is no cure.

    • by Moof123 (1292134) on Friday June 13, 2014 @01:13AM (#47227425)

      How about we do something about it rather than blaming the ever increasing number of addicts?

      Let's start by ending subsidies for corn syrup. Maybe use those funds to subsidize fruits and veggies? I would welcome the day when it is cheaper to eat a salad than make a box of Mac&Cheese, or to have an apple cost less than a hershey bar. OJ cheaper than Coke?

      We have some really sick (in both senses) incentives that make it cheaper to eat delicious empty calories rather than healthy low calorie and high nutrient foods. Blaming folks who fall into this trap is cruel and unproductive.

      • by kamapuaa (555446)

        I am not obese, I appreciate all the cheap calories from corn syrup. Before corn subsidies there were wild price fluctuations in food, not just those that use sugar but also in alternate grains and in meat. It's good domestic policy. Why should stupid people who can't limit themselves force the US to cancel a policy that works well? Anyway, if it wasn't subsidized corn syrup, fatties would find some other cheap food to stuff their faces with, or would just pay the extra money.

        • by Splab (574204)

          The money saved on health care alone should be enough of an incentive, even for jerks like you, whom only care for yourself.

      • by DeathElk (883654)

        Hell, bottled water being cheaper than coke would be a better nutrition option. Shame about the waste plastic though.

      • by ranton (36917)

        Let's start by ending subsidies for corn syrup. Maybe use those funds to subsidize fruits and veggies? I would welcome the day when it is cheaper to eat a salad than make a box of Mac&Cheese, or to have an apple cost less than a hershey bar. OJ cheaper than Coke?

        People keep parroting the idea that subsidies cause Skittles to be cheaper than grapes, but the reality does not match the hype. A 2009 study [wordpress.com] by Tufts University found that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) "represents just 3.5% of the total cost of soft drink manufacturing as measured by the value of shipments. Meanwhile, the corn content of HFCS represents only 1.6% of this value. Thus, the impact of corn prices on the final retail price of a food product is not as high as one might think."

        If the cost of th

    • by metlin (258108) on Friday June 13, 2014 @02:27AM (#47227683) Journal

      I am tired of hearing this argument.

      Getting in shape is not rocket science - all it takes is motivation, and persistence.

      You think those of us who are fit enjoy eating salads? Do you really think I enjoy drinking water instead of soda? Or do you think we somehow magically like candy less than everyone else? We are still humans, and we crave the exact same things. A bag of Doritos and some beer look just as tempting to us as they look to you.

      Getting in shape is almost entirely about dietary control. You even see it in the article, where the guy says that his company got him a gym membership. No, the solution is not a gym membership -- it is good diet.

      And at the end of the day, diet is much easier than working out.

      There is a reason people say that six pack abs are made in the kitchen. Every time I've had a six pack, it's been entirely because my diet has been in check. And when overeat, it doesn't matter how much or how hard I work out -- you cannot outrun a shitty diet.

      Besides,someone who eats healthy and does not work out is often in better shape than someone who eats junk and "works out" for half hour a day. Most of those people just use their momentum to do some crazy exercises with piss poor forms, and eat unhealthy crap afterwards because they've worked out (think middle aged man with flabby biceps and a beer gut trying to bench press, when he probably has 50% body fat).

      The solution to getting in shape is fairly simple. As long as you're in a caloric deficit, get enough protein (~1g/lb of lean body mass), and engage your muscles (I prefer to lift + rock climb + row), then you will shed the fat.

      At the end of the day, it comes down to simple math. You just need to burn more than you eat. And often, it's just a lot easier to not eat that bag of chips or only eat a salad for lunch and dinner than, say, run it off.

      For instance, a bag of Lays kettle chips is ~200 calories and a regular size chocolate chip cookie is ~180 calories. A bowl of Cap'n Crunch with skim milk? 300 calories. Add some sugar to that, and just having these will put you over 600 calories. That's ONE hour of running at 6mph.

      Instead, you can have some egg whites and oatmeal for lunch, two salads, and perhaps some baked lean meat or seafood for lunch and save yourself a whole lot of calories.

      This whole culture of saying that something is too difficult because it's an addition is nonsense. Whatever happened good old fashioned responsibility and personal accountability?

    • by quantaman (517394) on Friday June 13, 2014 @02:43AM (#47227727)

      Obesity is a mental disability, most often an addiction to a wrong diet containing many addictive ingredients.

      The way most people feed themselves is by stuffing enormous amounts of carbs, often a lot of them sugars in their face. Combine those with a little fat and all your body does is store fat and try and balance the glucose content of your blood. The carbs make your gut bacteria generate "happy hormones" that get in your blood, making you hungry and cranky if you don't get your fix, whether your body actually needs food or not.

      The symptoms of this addiction are obesity and diabetes type 2. Please treat it as an addiction, not as a phyisical disability. If you do that, for example being taller than 6ft5 should be treated as a disability too and be given all benefits that should come with such a status. If being a size that's outside of what society will cater for is a reason to call people disabled.

      Tall people can't help being tall, fat people in over 95% of the cases can help it if they kick the habit. If you treat obesity as a physical disability, you are insulting everyone with a physical disability for which there is no cure.

      If it's a mental condition it's one with a strong genetic component.

      “Obesity is one of the strongest genetically influenced traits that we have,” says O'Rahilly. Classic twin studies in the 1980s and 1990s, which relied on pairs of identical and fraternal twins, suggest that 40–70% of variation in body size is due to genetic factors. [nature.com]

      Mental health can be an issue, I know I put on ~5 kg over two years when dealing with depression, but fat-shaming has always struck me as a failure of theory of mind.

      If you're thin it's convenient to assume that it's just a matter of your willpower, you eat healthy because you're disciplined, you eat less because you're responsible. But it's also possible that fatty sugary food is just that much more appealing to other people, that hunger is a much stronger force, that their metabolism is slower so they gain fat much more easily.

      I don't dispute for a moment that any of them could lose weight if they tried hard enough. But some people have to try a heck of a lot harder than others.

  • You weren't sacked because you were too fat.... you were given the reason for dismissal: shortage of work. Now you want to invent an excuse that has nothing whatsoever to do with anything? If you were my employee, I'd sack you for being an asshat with an overinflated sense of entitlement.

    Frankly, I have a far bigger problem with this guy's attitude than I do with them considering obesity a disability... not that I think that is a good idea either.

  • by Dorianny (1847922) on Friday June 13, 2014 @01:10AM (#47227417) Journal
    I think they should clarify that they are talking about morbid obesity that servery impacts a persons ability to freely move about their surroundings. It is quite easy to became obese and a large portion of the population are obese, however few of them end up becoming morbidly obese no matter how poor their diet. The truth is that without additional risk factors, a medical condition such as hyperthyroidism, broken genes related to the normal function of appetite or a mental condition such as compulsive overeating disorder, it would be very hard for someone to reach the point where obesity is not just increasing their chances of a early death but also servery affects their mobility.
  • by tsotha (720379)

    It is seen as especially significant because of rising obesity levels in Europe and elsewhere, including the US.

    Eh... no. This decision will have no effect on the US whatsoever. Or are you trying to say obesity in the US had some effect on the European decision? Either way, it's not relevant.

  • Employers might in future have a duty to create reserved car parking spaces for obese staff

    Reserved car spaces where, 3 miles away so they can't avoid a miniscule amount of exercise each day?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13, 2014 @02:27AM (#47227681)

    Coming from a big guy, I think this is a horrible idea. It's not a disability. M.R. is a disability. Quadriplegia is a disability. Not being able to pull away from the table shouldn't be a reason to get disabled parking spaces. They should put them at the FAR END of the lot so us big guys get some extra forced exercise. No one should have to adjust office furniture because I'm fat. You can only help people so much. You can't care about someone's healthy more than they do. If i'm fat, I'm fat. It's not like it's a surprise to me, and if my shirts cost extra because there's more fabric used, so be it. Don't cater to people because they're fat.

  • by jonwil (467024) on Friday June 13, 2014 @06:57AM (#47228437)

    Being fat is (for 99% of people anyway) a lifestyle choice rather than a genuine disability or medical condition.

    If you choose to eat Big Macs and Original Recipe and M&Ms and Popcorn and Coke and other high fat/high sugar foods in quantities that are too big and if you choose not to get the exercise required to work off those calories and you get fat as a result, its your fault.

    If you choose to buy your kids junk food instead of feeding them healthy food, its your fault that they are fat. If you choose to allow your kids to sit around in front of a screen all day instead of getting exercise, its your fault they are fat.

This login session: $13.76, but for you $11.88.

Working...