Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
EU Government Medicine

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

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This discussion has been archived.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:
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Re:What a joke. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @12:52AM (#47227357)

    Actually, in the olden days, they'd likely be the ones doing the rounding, locking and burning.

    Historically, obesity was only a problem for the very well off.

  • 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 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.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13, 2014 @01:48AM (#47227573)

    Look, that would break the law of conservation of mass and energy. Thyroid condition or not, what mass you acquire can be in two form : water (the case of people having water retention) and real fat/muscle. In the first case there are rare people having such a problem. In the second case, this is bullshit that people cannot lose weight or avoid gaining it when they are aware of their condition. That mass is not coming from their "thyroid". It is coming from stuff they eat, and therefore limiting intake and practicing sport would fight the weight problem. Stating "I have a thyroid condition" is not an explanation of an obesity. In the very end you are still eating that mass and getting those calory from food.

  • 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 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.

  • by bucket_brigade ( 1079247 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @03:11AM (#47227807)

    True, however, their verdicts can have influence over existing laws. If there are laws concerning treatment of disability in the workplace and some responsible body makes up a new disability it sort of is like passing a law.

  • by fractoid ( 1076465 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @03:51AM (#47227913) Homepage
    A fully functioning metabolism tries to hoard fat so that when you're starving, you have something to live off. Fully functioning metabolisms do not help you lose weight. Weight loss (barring significantly changed life circumstances) is what happens when your conscious mind overrides your natural homeostasis to limit your intake of dietary calories in order to deliberately burn your fat reserves.
  • by Merls the Sneaky ( 1031058 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @04:03AM (#47227951)

    "If this comes across as somewhat snippy it's because I didn't have lunch today because I'm cutting back a couple of kilos."

    So to lose weight you have to be a cunt? Maybe the fatties don't want to go around all the time being a judgmental cunts to other people?

    All fat people are lazy. Yeah, all Jewish people are greedy, black people like watermelon and fried chicken, asians are good at math but are bad drivers. Yeah lets stereotype all people based on their outward appearance.

    Good job! Maybe if we're prejudiced enough we can all look and think the same.

  • Re:IDIOT (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @04:04AM (#47227957)

    (non-Anonymous MD chips in)

    That's why you can have someone who's had their stomach stapled and can't eat more than a plate's worth of food a day get fat.

    They don't get fat. They were fat in the first place, if they had their stomach stapled. I've seen people who worked industriously to overcome their stomach stapling surgery to fit in as many calories as possible ; making sure they consumed only the lowest-bulk, highest-calorie foodstuffs, and wonder why they didn't lose weight. I mean, they had the surgery, and that's a miracle golden ticket to weight loss, right???

    Also note that fat isn't just made of food. The air you breath and the water you take in also adds to the chemical process.

    Mhhmmm, but it's the same air and water pretty much everywhere. Unless you live in a cotton candy cloud next to the gravy pond, it's not a factor in determining your weight relative to the next guy.

    The two overwhelming factors that govern weight are....

    * Dietary habit. Not just how much you eat, but what. Because "what" has a serious impact on "how much" - like those stomach stapler guys, it's much easier to eat too many calories if you ingest it in the form of low-bulk, highly processed foods. Yes, if you choose your car based on whether it has a beverage holder which will take a Big Gulp, you're one of these people. You can eat huge plates of vegetables and not gain weight, because they are mostly composed of that water you're talking about, and you can make them tasty with herbs and spices and ... canned tomatoes, makes any plate of veggies 100% more interesting. The other important habit is your shopping habit - just not buying those low-bulk calorie-dense foods and not having them around is very effective.

    * Excercise habit. The simplest being to walk and not drive. This is why America is so far ahead in the fat stakes compared to Europe - many things are too far apart from each other to walk, in contrast to Europe which is a little more compressed. I visited Oregon and people looked at me funny because I annouced I was going to walk to places as far away as half a mile or so. Where do you have the least obesity? Places like New York, where everything is in practical walking distance. Once you get fat, it's like a trap - everything feels like too much effort to do, so you do less and less. Your knees end up too damaged to walk or gasp run.

    All this is from experience (although I've not been what I'd call "fat" in a long time, I'll raise my hand to being overweight). My marriage ended last year, and feeling the need to make myself a little more attractive for the dating game, I dropped over 20 pounds in 6 months from cooking for myself instead of buying pre-made food, and getting off my butt and going for a run once or twice a week.

    I completely get that people find this hard, because I do. For most people, weight is a psychological issue, beause as a species we're hardwired to get as much food as we can, so to maintain a proper diet we have to use our front brain instead of our lizard brain. But the excuses like "it's my metabolism" or "it's the water" do nothing to improve the condition, they're just the mental equivalent of more junk food - something that makes you feel better about the problem but gets in the way of resolving it. Hence the emphasis I place on the word "habit" - making decisions is tiring, but if it's just "what you do"... then not so much. Cooking decent healthy meals for my daughter twice a week (with enough for leftovers to keep me eating well the rest of the week), and hopping on the rower for a minimum of 10 minutes a day, is now "what I do".

  • by Stellian ( 673475 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @04:16AM (#47227977)

    the vast majority of plants *do not eat*, yet they gain non-water mass. Humans aren't a closed system.

    The stupidity enclosed in the post above has increased my intracranial pressure to the point of spontaneous detonation.

  • 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.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @04:56AM (#47228099) Homepage Journal

    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.

    The difference is that you can't put your leg back. You can lose weight.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @04:59AM (#47228111) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • by Erikderzweite ( 1146485 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @07:02AM (#47228459)

    >America went in to stop some serious badness happening
    Oh yes, those imaginary WMDs would do some real damage. Thank God the US was there to save the day.

  • 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 ?

  • Re:Hmm (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13, 2014 @07:06AM (#47228477)

    Actually research has been showing the opposite. Long-term weight loss may not be possible for most obese people.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/... [www.cbc.ca]

  • 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.

  • by hawkinspeter ( 831501 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @08:30AM (#47228853)
    Why would you think that the same diet and exercise is appropriate for all age groups? Quite clearly dietary requirements change over the course of your life (babies are happy drinking just breast milk, but you just try that as an adult male). Also, energy expenditure is very clearly different between children and pensioners.

    That's a fine straw man you're building there.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13, 2014 @08:42AM (#47228917)

    It's not the only group. Try being fit, active and a healthy weight - or even just aspire to be.

    Apprantly society on the whole think's its fine to criticise those people. For a whole host of reasons like they are "under-eating", objectifying men/women, being superficial and only concerned with looks, or setting unrealistic goals for children.

    Won't somebody think of the children?

    Don't say anything to the fat people though, lest we hurt their feelings.

    Posting anon in case fat brigade hunt me down and sit on me.

  • 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.

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

    by Gramie2 ( 411713 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @09:54AM (#47229445)

    It is simple. It's just hard, and people don't want to do things that are hard.

    My ex was/is obese, and all the chocolate bar wrappers I found in her car, and empty ice cream containers I found in her house, may have had something to do with it. Now she's an a meal-replacement diet and has lost over 20 lbs. in about four months. No, it's not easy, but I respect and support her for taking control of her health.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday June 13, 2014 @10:30AM (#47229683) Homepage Journal

    I completely ignore the so called Paleo diet, even though I lost 40 lbs. over four years ago and kept it off essentially eating that way. I don't really care what great-great-great granddaddy judoguy supposedly ate. I'm interested in what modern science says.

    This isn't about modern science. It was observed back in the 1700s that people who ate a lot of carbs were fat and had heart disease. This is about politics and greed. TPTB, especially in the USA, have been deliberately telling us lies about nutrition in order to serve their corporate masters who would like to sell us not just processed foods, but also the remedies for the diseases brought on by eating them.

  • 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.


    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 hawkinspeter ( 831501 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @10:43AM (#47229801)
    Pensioners are adults, but my point is that humans have different metabolic rates and nutritional needs throughout different phases of life.

    What's important is the ratio of consumed calories versus expended calories. If energy expenditure changes, then you'd be wanting to change your calorie consumption. However, evolution hasn't really prepared us for having a virtually unlimited supply of food, so it's not easy to get the balance right.
  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @10:49AM (#47229847)

    This is why all this fat-shaming is just plain idiotic. Some fat people are literally unable to lose fat

    If you have a diagnosed disease that causes your obesity, then you can claim disability because of that.

    Likewise, if you are sick, you may be staying home and not working; but that doesn't mean that everybody who stays home and is not working is sick.

    If you look like a Greek god, good for you; but you aren't one, so settle for admiring your abs in the mirror, rather than give other people grief over their lack of them.

    Obesity isn't about aesthetics, it's about health, productivity, and health care costs. Since society now has to pay for your health care costs, society is going to tell you to shape up or be penalized.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com]

    You may be forced to get into weight loss programs, just like people are forced to get into drug treatment programs, even if think your obesity isn't causing you any problems.

    the idea that people need to justify their body shape would still be wrong

    The old deal was: you choose your body shape, you suffer the consequences, and your employer chooses whether to hire you.

    The emerging alternative deal is: if your body shape doesn't conform to parameters determined to be acceptable and healthy by government experts, you will have to undergo treatment, but you will be legally protected while you do so.

    What you want, namely choosing a costly body shape and having society subsidize your choice is not going to happen in the long run because we can't pay for it.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @10:53AM (#47229881)

    People who are bad in bed, financially irresponsible, or bad at math don't manage to fix those conditions long term either. That doesn't make them diseases or disabilities.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @10:54AM (#47229883) Journal

    And why? To fit someone else's aestetic ideal?

    Want a list of reasons why?
    1. Dying from heart disease in your 50s sucks.
    2. Injecting yourself with insulin multiple times a day sucks.
    3. Being unable to walk to the far end of the parking lot or up a flight of stairs without getting winded sucks.

    If you look like a Greek god, good for you; but you aren't one, so settle for admiring your abs in the mirror

    It's interesting that you think it's a binary choice between looking like a Greek god or being an obese fat ass that's an emotional and financial drain on everyone around them.

  • by Kielistic ( 1273232 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @11:02AM (#47229953)
    So it might be a little harder for you to lose weight than someone else. That doesn't make it not possible. It is not a lack of compassion to tell someone that their weight loss is their own responsibility along with their own weight gain. Hell- with half the effort to lose weight as you've put into making excuses in this thread anyone would be well on their way to fitness.
  • 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

  • by Thruen ( 753567 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @06:16PM (#47233379)
    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's trying to starve yourself to death. The fact that you'd make such a claim shows you've put literally no effort into finding out how to eat right and be healthy. You sound a lot like my aunt did, before she decided to stop eating fast food and start hitting the gym once a week. She's in her late fifties now, and she's gone from weighing close to 300lbs her entire adult life to weighing under 200 now, all in the last 6-7 years. She took inspiration from my cousins, who took inspiration from my mother, who took it from my father, all of whom have lost a lot of weight since deciding to stop being unhealthy. My parents' exercise consists of walking the beach a few nights a week when the weather is nice enough, and in New England that's not even that often, but it was enough to shed the pounds they've always had.

    Stop making excuses, you're not convincing anyone, I've personally known too many people like you who made excuses all their lives until they decided they were done being unhealthy. Obesity is a new epidemic, not something humans have been grappling with for centuries. If you'd stop making excuses and actually put the effort in and try to put together a balanced diet while cutting out all the crap you usually eat you'd realize obese is not a natural state for anyone.
  • by Thruen ( 753567 ) on Friday June 13, 2014 @06:29PM (#47233459)
    Can you explain to me what the medical problem is causing everyone to be obese? Oh you can't? Because there's nothing to actually say there's a medical reason for it other than a bunch of overweight people who insist they can't do anything about it. There are extremely rare conditions that can cause weight gain, but these are the minority cases. Most people have no reason for being obese, only excuses, and those aren't worth anything.

    As for choosing to be 450lbs, obviously nobody wakes up one day and says, "Damn, I want to break couches when I sit down!" but every time you choose to drink a soda instead of water, or you choose to eat chips instead of an apple, or you choose to get McDonalds instead of damn near anything else, you are choosing to keep being unhealthy.

    In a time where you can order a healthy balanced diet in powdered form over the internet, none of us has an excuse for eating so poorly. None of us ever had an excuse for failing to exercise just a little bit, we just make them up anyway.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.