10 February 2008
John Read, a state legislator from Mississippi has proposed a bill banning ALL restaurants from serving obese individuals in his state, where over 30% of adults are classified as obese. Is this really the solution? The potential problems with this bill are tremendous. Besides the obvious DISCRIMINATION and taking away one's right to choose, this bill could restrict obese individuals' ability to travel, gather with others socially, and it requires obese restaurant employees to eat off-premises. Restaurant employees would have to "eyeball" customers and make decisions regarding to whom they deny services. Would you want to be in that position?! Would there be doctor scales in the restaurants? How about calipers to measure body fat, since body weight isn't necessarily the best way to measure an excess of body fat?
2007 OBESITY MAP ACCORDING TO THE CDC
John Banzhaf, an infamous lawyer known for taking on tabacco companies and fast food restaurants, has proposed a revision to the current bill that would focus on children:
No employee of a fast food chain outlet shall serve to any child who appears, to a reasonable person, to be under the age of 16 and to be obese, any single food item reported by the company to contain more than 500 calories, nor any meal where the calories in all of the food items in the meal (including any drinks, but not including sauces not provided at the counter) as reported by the company exceed 1000 calories.
However, all such food items may be served if the child is accompanied by a parent or guardian, or if the child presents a letter or note on the letterhead of a physician, hospital, or other health care entity certifying that he is not obese or that for medical reasons he should be served such food items, or if he or she provides such proof in a form or manner approved by the State Department of Health, including but not necessarily limited to, a wallet-sized card from any of the above sources or from the school which the child attends.
This is an interesting revision, however, are obese minors eating fast food away from their parents really the main reason that they are obese? And again, there is that *little* problem of making subjective determinations about an individual's weight, AND are employees really going to add up the calories being ordered, including sauce(s!)? Sorry, kid, that 15 calorie pack of hot sauce that you requested from me makes your meal 1005 calories. However, if you grab one yourself from the condiment area, you're fine. Finally, nothing would prevent the non-obese friend from ordering for their "obese" friend, unless employees would also be required to monitor the entire eating process.
What do others think about this?